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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.

 

IV Lab’s David Piech recently shared his perspective on how to develop a toolkit that can help STEM students achieve their goals. David started at IV as an intern immediately after graduating from Duke University, and is heading off to graduate school this falls. For David, finding his path wasn’t only about education and experience – it was about developing the right mindset.

We’ve previewed a few of David’s tools below, but for the full set, make sure to check out his post on IV Lab’s blog.

  • First Principles: Learn the first principles of at least one field (likely the one you are studying) and how more complex ideas and capabilities in the field are built from those first principles. A deep knowledge of first principles in one area will help your understanding of how they work in general and will help you understand how other fields build up complex ideas and capabilities from their first principles. This will take the mysticism out of other field's impressive capabilities and turn it into a respect for their first principles and methods of systematic inquiry, which in-turn makes you more confident to interface with other fields.
  • Breadth: Build technical confidence by being exposed to a number of different areas and problems. This is NOT intended to make you deeply knowledgeable in those areas, but will make those areas less unknown, less frightening to work with, and will give you a better sense of how problems are worked and solutions built in general.
  • Tinker: Tinkering allows you to test a core concept, develop your mind's eye and intuition for an idea, and (importantly) communicate the idea to others. Be aware that while tinkering has immense value, sometimes a well-engineered system behaves fundamentally differently than one quickly put together. As long as this is acknowledged, both tinkering and thoroughly-engineered systems are valuable. Tinkering allows you to quickly iterate through simple physical prototypes.
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Metamaterials Momentum: IV Spinout Kymeta

Nathan Myhrvold once described metamaterials as the closest thing to magic he’s ever seen. And if IV spinout Kymeta’s recent success is any measure, magic is something that the market can get behind. It’s been quite a year for the company, so we thought we’d take some time to highlight just a few of the ways Kymeta’s technology is making an impact.

Metamaterials Momentum: IV Spinout Kymeta

If you follow our social channels, you’re likely aware of Kymeta’s latest partnership with electronic powerhouse Sharp. It’s a great match – Kymeta’s innovative antenna, known as mTenna, is made from liquid crystal-based metamaterials and will be complemented by Sharp’s liquid crystal-based display production technology.

Here’s how it works: the lightweight antennas use software to accurately point toward a satellite, a huge improvement from the current system of large and costly mechanical steering technology. Combine Kymeta’s satellite design with Sharp’s production capabilities, and there is huge potential for product innovation. As an example, imagine a car connecting to a satellite. Right now that’s almost impossible unless you place a heavy, expensive piece of equipment on top of the vehicle. But with a Kymeta antenna, the technology is compact enough to be built into the roof of the car – making it effectively invisible.

Like we mentioned, Kymeta’s been busy, and the Sharp partnership is far from its only news:

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From the Archives: Inventor Superhero Ellen Ochoa

  When we think about our favorite Insights topics, we can’t pass up Inventor Superhero Ellen Ochoa. This incredible inventor was the first Hispanic woman in space, and she ultimately spent more than 700 hours on missions outside of our planet. Her last mission was in 2001, and she now serves as the director of the Johnson Space Center. And much like IV President and COO Adriane Brown and many other accomplished women in STEM fields, she encourages students to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.  

From the Archives: Inventor Superhero Ellen Ochoa
Ellen Ochoa: NASA astronaut, mission specialist. Photo by NASA [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Inventor Superhero: Ellen Ochoa, Ph.D. (1958-present), director of the Johnson Space Center

Superpowers: Optics: Ochoa is a co-inventor on three patents that help scientists refine images that come from space — she invented an optical inspection system, an optical object recognition method, and a method for noise removal in images. Ochoa can also fly planes and play classical flute.

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Back to School with STEM and Mentorship

The end of summer means that students of all ages are getting their room and course assignments, maybe choosing an outfit for the first day of school and anticipating all a new year brings. It also offers another important opportunity to remember how critical mentoring students and helping them to pursue their STEM education-related goals are to helping ensure a strong and innovative future workforce.

Back to School with STEM and Mentorship
Adriane Brown speaks with students in Washington, D.C., about pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).
 

The Indiana University School of Education recently conducted a survey designed to identify how, when, and why students choose STEM fields, and to learn what keeps them interested. The researchers spoke to nearly 8,000 participants from both STEM and non-STEM disciplines. And they concluded that the majority of respondents first expressed their interest in STEM fields before sixth grade.

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News You Can Use: Saving Lives on Earth, Sustaining Life in Space

We can’t say it enough: we love inventing, and everything about it. We love the inventors, who, despite diverse backgrounds share the goal of making something new. And, of course, we love the inventions themselves, especially the revolutionary ones. But where do inventors get their innovative spirit? This month’s News You Can Use explores the process of innovation, even beyond our horizons.

News You Can Use: Saving Lives on Earth, Sustaining Life in Space

Lifesaving inventor pens informative piece about disruptive innovation

Syringes make medicinal delivery quick and effective, and Marc Koska knows this better than anyone. The creator of the single-use syringe, an invention that has saved millions of lives, Mr. Koska offered great advice in his essay in The Telegraph about the process of innovation and invention. Among his best recommendations are to “start with the problem, not the solution” and use simplicity as an advantage. After all, complex problems don’t necessarily need to be solved with complex solutions.

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Inventor Superhero: Dr. Forrest Bird

It’s been some time since we last profiled a new inventor superhero. But in the wake of an extraordinary man’s passing, this superhero deserves all of the recognition he can get. His credits include improving the capabilities of American fighter pilots in World War II and inventing breathing devices that have saved countless people facing medical issues affecting their hearts and lungs, including his first wife. Dr. Bird was also an avid aviator, having earned his pilot’s certification by the age of 16. In what can only be described as an incredible historical coincidence, he even flew alongside the Hindenburg just hours before it tragically burst into flames in 1937.

Inventor Superhero: Dr. Forrest Bird
Photo courtesy of Jesse Hart, www.jessehartphotography.com

 

Inventor Superhero: Dr. Forrest Bird (1921-2015), aviator, inventor, engineer, and founder of Percussionaire Corporation.

Superpowers: Dr. Bird’s combination of piloting skills and engineering knowhow helped to improve high-altitude breathing capabilities during World War II, resulting in American pilots flying as high as 37,000 feet; 9,000 higher than before. Most of us would call it a day after that remarkable accomplishment, but not this superhero. He took what he learned in the war and created unique mechanical ventilators that replaced the iron lung, saved countless lives, and aided thousands with respiratory struggles.  

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From the Archives: Alternate Endings – Inventor Close Ups

Here on Insights, we talk frequently about the process of invention. But sometimes, the most impactful inventions weren’t pursued at all – they happened by accident. The inventions featured in this post from the archives may surprise you. Learn more about the people and stories behind these products, and see how many you use every day.

From the Archives: Alternate Endings – Inventor Close Ups

Giving credit to inventors reminds us that it’s people behind the scenes who help drive big box office smashes in today’s consumer-driven world. These people have pioneering spirits and what’s-possible attitudes that keeps them thinking, striving, and solving; especially when their original hypotheses are disproven and new inventions rise from constructive failure.

Percy Spencer: invented the microwave oven in 1945 when he noticed a melted candy bar while working on building magnetrons for radar sets

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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.

Fighting Malaria on Multiple Fronts

If you’ve been following IV Lab and Global Good, you likely know that we have been working on new disease diagnostics technologies for some time. In fact, Dr. David Bell noted that improving microscopy is one key area where IV Lab and Global Good are making a difference in the fight against malaria in his recent Behind the Breakthrough interview.

What is microscopy and how is it used to diagnose malaria?

Microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained blood slides – or microscopy – has generally been considered the gold standard in malaria diagnosis, and the World Health Organization’s 2014 World Malaria Report estimates that 197 million patients were tested with microscopy in 2013.

One challenge with using microscopy to diagnose malaria is training and supporting proficient microscopy technicians. The accuracy of microscopy tests relies heavily on the knowledge, level of skill, and judgment of the malaria technician, particularly in cases of early infection that might require greater sensitivity and skill.

How are Global Good and IV Lab addressing this challenge?

In short, we’re approaching the problem from multiple angles by:

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From the Archives: Inventor Superhero James Dyson

 Throughout August, we're highlighting some of our favorite content from the archives. This week, we’re featuring Inventor Superhero James Dyson, the epitome of a venturer. His innovative solutions – the ones that resulted in highly effective bagless, cyclone vacuums – have transformed his name into a coveted brand. Read on to learn about his eureka! moment, nemeses, and more.

From the Archives: Inventor Superhero James Dyson

Our latest inventor superhero embodies what it is to be a venturer. Unhappy with the status-quo, he spent five years and developed more than 5,000 prototypes in his quest to create the world’s first bagless vacuum. Through his company Dyson, he’s been innovating ever since on everything from cyclone technology to bladeless fans to digital motors. 

But perhaps more impressive is his commitment to inspiring young people to pursue invention. “Because right now,” he says, “it’s these bright young minds that offer a glimpse at the engineering stars of the future.”

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From Ireland to Bellevue: 2015 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition Winner Visits IV

The potential of young inventors to change our world is truly unlimited. Take for example, Elle Loughran, a teenage inventor from Ireland. Even by exceptionally bright young inventor standards, Elle stands out. Her work on developing a biosensor that could help to diagnose certain types of brain tumors won her the IV Insightful Invention Award at the 2015 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition

From Ireland to Bellevue: 2015 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition Winner Visits IV
Elle Loughran, the 2015 winner of IV's Insightful Invention Award at the 2015 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.  

 

And Elle’s award didn’t just come with a nice plaque. She also received a trip to the United States to visit IV and see the best we have to offer in the Pacific Northwest. For part of her four-day trip, Elle toured IV’s facilities, which included an up-close view of the photonic fence and passive vaccine storage device, Arktek, and spent some time with members of our staff and executive team, including Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Marketing Mona Locke and President and COO Adriane Brown. She also made time to meet with executives at Intel and explore a few Seattle landmarks.

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Meet the #IHXCHALLENGE2015 Judges: Parminder Singh, President, @IVinvents ow.ly/RyPMI #digitalhealth pic.twitter.com/WaloKLTQYj

Sep 04

Today in 1888: George Eastman patented the roll film camera for Kodak. Blog: "Kodak moments" s.si.edu/1NIVm3N pic.twitter.com/Zf9datN9uw

Sep 04

Want to land your #dreamjob in #STEM? Read these tips from an #IVLab engineer about developing the right mindset. ow.ly/RLfWD

Sep 03