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How Ingenuity Is Art: Top Invention Stories from February

In 2002, Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space said, “The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin… they are manifestations of the same thing. The art and sciences are avatars of human creativity.” 

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It's What's Inside That Counts: the Arktek Revealed

In this video, we’ll show you how we told the story of the magic behind — or rather inside — the Arktek™, which received a USPTO Patents for Humanity Award in 2016. 

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IV’s Best Nine of 2016: Nine Pictures Worth 9,000 Words

The first photograph made in a camera was taken in the 1820s. Because of the early photographic process, the image is difficult to view. In fact, at first glance, it can be hard to see the image at all. However, if viewed from a specific angle and in specific lighting, the image’s unique story comes to life. Almost 200 years later, this notion that an image has the power to capture a pivotal moment in time if taken and viewed in the right circumstances still holds true. Some images need context. Others require the photographer to zoom in, zoom out, or even change the angle of the camera, to tell the full story.

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Top 16 Invention Stories That Had You Talking in 2016

Transformative invention requires an element of idealism – calling on the dreamers, visionaries and optimists who imagine a better world. But truly life-changing invention demands more than just an imagination for a brighter future. There needs to be an element of pragmatism in invention – a trailblazer who creates an idea that bridges the gap between a vision for the distant future, and reality in the here and now. 

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Our People: Amy Steadman

Amy Steadman is a biochemist for Intellectual Ventures Lab, currently working on a cervical cancer screening project to develop a test that would help diagnose high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) in the pre-cancer stage. We recently spoke with Amy to learn more about her passion for using research to help women in the developing world, her inspiration for her work and how she rocks out in her free time. 

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News You Can Use: Don’t Just Think Big, Think Different

As Senior Vice President of Global Good and Research Maurizio Vecchione remarks, “innovation requires looking at a problem from a new perspective.” Our favorite links this month tell stories of outside-the-box thinkers — from students and scientists to mathematicians during the space race and even a 19th-century English noblewoman — whose unique outlooks on complex problems led to life-changing solutions.

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IV’s Favorite Inventions: The Babbage Machine

Visit the Intellectual Ventures Lab and you’ll find one of IV’s favorite inventions, the Difference Engine No. 2 or Babbage Machine. Consisting of 8,000 parts, weighing five tons and measuring 11 feet long, this particular invention is hard to miss. But its size isn’t the reason it has a home in the IV Lab foyer. The Difference Engine No. 2 is the earliest mechanical calculator and widely considered to be the world’s first computer

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The Next Generation of STEM Superheroes: Meet Ayantu, Ray and Aisha

Superheroes venture into unexplored territory, overcome obstacles, and improve the world around them. At the Intellectual Ventures Lab, we think of ourselves in a similar way. Using our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) superpowers, we invent real-life gadgets that could save and improve the lives of millions of people across the planet. 

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Colin McNelis, 17, Invents to Solve Your Problems

Ever had your phone charger bite the dust at the most inopportune moment? Tempted fate with a partial charge because you didn’t have enough time wait for a full battery? Colin McNelis has a solution for that – and he’s only 17.

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The Intellectual Ventures Story – In 2 Minutes and 12 Seconds

“Inventions are the foundation of all technology. Almost every invention required a passionate advocate. Someone who championed the idea. Because as long as people have been inventing, there’s been someone who has said, ah, it’ll never work!” Nathan Myhrvold, founder and CEO.

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How Do You Keep Vaccines Cool? (Hint: Look to Space)

The Arktek™, developed by a team at Intellectual Ventures Laboratory, can store a month’s supply of vaccines for a village of 6,000 people in 100 degree plus heat, without electricity. What’s the secret? Vacuum thermal insulation technology – the same technology that has been used to protect spacecraft from temperature extremes while in space and upon re-entry. 

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Controlling Citrus Disease with the Photonic Fence

We’ve talked extensively about how Photonic Fence’s light-based technology could help control diseases like malaria or Zika. But the technology isn’t just for mosquitoes. IV Lab also sees a promising future in agriculture for the Photonic Fence, where diseases transmitted by insects can devastate crop production.

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Behind the Breakthrough: Scenes From Intellectual Ventures Laboratory

As we head off to Germany for the Hannover Messe trade fair, we’re offering a behind the scenes look at our state-of-the-art research lab as it pursues breakthroughs. Check out the photo series below for some of the technology that we’re excited to showcase next week.

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Behind the Breakthrough: Courosh Mehanian

For our Behind the Breakthrough this week, we’re profiling Courosh Mehanian, a Principal Research Scientist at Global Good and the Intellectual Ventures Lab. Courosh is a computer vision scientist with a background in physics and a love for learning about biology and medicine. 

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A “Star Wars approach” to the Battle on Zika

Intellectual Ventures was recently highlighted in a story by the Associated Press for its “Star Wars approach” to fighting the spread of the Zika virus. According to the CDC, the first cases of Zika in the Western Hemisphere were identified in May 2015 in Brazil. And just six months later the virus had been identified in an additional thirteen countries and territories in the Americas. Arty Makagon (AM), Technical Project Lead for Photonic Fence – IV's laser-based, mosquito-killing technology – discusses the role lasers could play in limiting the spread of Zika and other pathogens spread by flying insects.

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Staff Spotlight: Kevin Nichols

Our latest staff spotlight is Kevin Nichols, a Senior Research Engineer at IV. Kevin’s impressive chemical engineering experience drives his efforts to improve malaria detection and positively impact global public health. Here’s what Kevin had to say about his work, inspiration, and background:

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Intellectual Ventures Opens New Laboratory

Today we announced the grand opening of Intellectual Ventures Laboratory’s (IV Lab’s) new location – more than 87,000 square feet of research facilities, representing almost 33,000 square feet of additional space compared to the old Lab, dedicated to helping global invention thrive. 

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Developing a Technological Mindset

Landing a dream job is, well, everyone’s dream. But how do you get there? This is a question IV Lab wanted to answer. It turns out there’s probably not a cut and dry path. For some, it’s taking challenging educational course work and for others, it’s the eye opening internship or other life experience. And for most of us, it’s likely a combination of factors.

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Fighting Malaria on Multiple Fronts

Despite available treatments, hundreds of thousands of people die each year from malaria. Though there are many factors at play, lack of access to affordable, accurate, and timely diagnostic tests play an undeniable role in the rate of mortality from this curable disease.

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Behind the Breakthrough: Tola Marts

This week’s Behind the Breakthrough profiles Tola Marts, an IV Engineering Manager in the Devices Platform Group (DPG), which designs and tests new products that improve global health and global development. Tola’s technical engineering background is complemented by his previous experience in engineering software sales. When he’s not working on state of the art designs and experiments, Tola spends his spare time as an elected Councilmember for the city of Issaquah, Washington

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Behind the Breakthrough: Manan Shukla

This week’s Behind the Breakthrough profiles Manan Shukla, an associate commercialization lead at Global Good. Manan was born in a small village in India and was raised and educated in the United States. He draws on his early years in India as he travels throughout Africa to speak with farmers and improve the products designed for them.

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Behind the Breakthrough: Deb Peat

This week’s Behind the Breakthrough features Deb Peat, an adventurous and talented program manager at IV. Deb’s extensive background in marine geophysics and remote sensing has taken her to all corners of the planet. Her impressive credentials include partnering with a spinout from the University of Hawaii to help the telecommunications industry map the numerous fiber optic cables across the sea floor. Deb’s experiences allow her to work with both inventors and the management team to drive the next breakthroughs.

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Staff Spotlight: Dan Lieberman

Today we’re highlighting Dan Lieberman, a mechanical engineer and project lead at the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory. Dan’s background in the science of explosions gives him the unique ability to distill complex problems to their core elements and solve them in a quick and meaningful way.

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Staff Spotlight: Shannon Kuyper

Today we’re highlighting Shannon Kuyper, a research program manager at the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory. Shannon’s science roots combined with her business training gives her a unique perspective on the shared challenges and opportunities for many of the lab’s projects.    

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IV in the Community: January

New year, new opportunities to tell our unique story. Over the next few months, Intellectual Ventures employees from across the company will be out in the community talking about everything from what the West can learn from Asia’s innovation boom to the longer-term consequences of Ebola.  

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IV’s Resident Futurist, Pablos Holman, Tells Popular Science Readers to Break Stuff

Pablos Holman, an inventor, hacker, and resident futurist at Intellectual Ventures, gets his ideas from breaking things into little pieces. In a Q-and-A with Popular Science, he explains why more people should spend time taking computers and other gadgets apart—and invent new uses for their technologies. 

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Watch: George Takei Visits IV Lab and Modernist Cuisine

To get a better picture of what’s happening within the wonderful world of invention, sometimes it’s nice to sit back and watch. View a few of our favorite videos highlighting the intellectual property business, science and research, and next-generation inventors. New this week: Actor and author George Takei chronicles his experience visiting Intellectual Ventures Laboratory and Modernist Cuisine's Cooking Lab.

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Tools of the Trade: Instruments for Invention

Inventors are churning out new technologies every day, which means that state-of-the-art tools for designing and testing prototypes are in high demand. While we’ll always have a special place at the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory for good, old-fashioned power drills, we also rely on a lot of high-tech machinery for our work. Check out a few of the fancier tools that fill our lab:

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Building Mazzi

In developing countries, the smallholder farmers who rely on milk for subsistence and, in many cases, income, frequently lose milk to spillage and spoilage when they’re transporting their milk from the farm to collection points and chilling stations.  

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IV Investigates: Research Highlights from IV Lab

If you follow our Insights blog, you’ve read about some important milestones in the invention industry – from new technology development to patent reform. Insights is just one of the ways we participate in the conversation about invention and share information about who we are and what we do.

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