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News You Can Use: All Inventions Big and Small

This week’s news you can use celebrates a broad scope of inventions. From accidental inventions to the process of creating Big Science capabilities, new ideas are constantly changing how we perceive and understand the world. 

News You Can Use: All Inventions Big and Small

An accidental invention to “cure” colorblindness

This month, Smithsonian Magazine has the story about an accidental discovery that’s led to glasses that correct colorblindness. Originally developed for surgeons to protect their eyes during laser surgery and help them differentiate between blood and tissue, the glasses were so popular that many started wearing them outside of the operating room. But no one discovered how they could help with colorblindness until a colorblind friend of the scientist who engineered the material borrowed his “sunglasses.” Much to the friend’s surprise, he could see orange for the very first time.

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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

Behind the Breakthrough: Tola Marts

Here are some of his reflections:

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Deep Freeze Arktek Noted in PBS NewsHour Ebola Series

IV’s latest passive vaccine storage device, or Arktek™, as it’s now known, has had a big year so far. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control tagged the Arktek to help make Ebola vaccine trials in Sierra Leone and Guinea possible.

In the PBS NewsHour segment, “Why testing an Ebola vaccine isn’t so easy,” science correspondent Miles O'Brian reports on the challenges of conducting experimental drug trials in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The Deep Freeze Arktek is noted at the 1:30 mark of the video below.

The Arktek is allowing researchers on the ground in Africa to determine the efficacy of Ebola vaccine candidates. An important requirement in keeping the Ebola vaccine effective throughout the trials is keeping the vaccines at appropriate temperatures until being thawed for injection. And these vaccines require unusually low temperatures during storage, transportation, and distribution.

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Breaking It Down: Invention Sessions

A physicist, a research scientist, a physician, and a few inventors walk into a room. This could be the beginning of an IV joke, but it’s also our process of bringing together top innovators and inventors to brainstorm. We call these meetings “Invention Sessions” and our goal for them is clear: think of new solutions to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Sounds daunting, right? But when we put brilliant minds from various backgrounds together, the potential is truly unlimited.

Breaking It Down: Invention Sessions

Here’s how our Invention Sessions work: one or two times per month we invite a handful of inventors, innovators, and experts from numerous fields to a conference room. Each session has a general topic, but we keep it vague to give participants, often including IV founder and CEO Nathan Myhrvold, the most room to generate new ideas. While session topics usually focus on a conventional challenge that has remained for many years, the discussion can move quickly to encompass other related or even unrelated challenges.

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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.

Behind the Breakthrough: Manan Shukla

Prior to Intellectual Ventures, Manan worked as a management consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington DC, San Diego, and Hawaii. His background in finance and business helps him to look at the viability of the IV Lab’s inventions on a global scale. He finds it gratifying to distribute the next breakthrough to those who need it most.

Here are some of his reflections:

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IV Partner Update: REFLX

In October 2014 IV entered into a strategic partnership with Reflx Labs to innovate new applications of Boogio and expand Reflx's IP portfolio and position. Jose Torres, the co-founder and CEO of Reflx Labs, discusses the company’s recent momentum and ongoing partnership with IV.

IV Partner Update: REFLX

Reflx Labs develops technologies for human instrumentation in order to better understand and characterize the body through sensor data. We are currently working on Boogio, a wearable technology for your feet. Boogio is a pair of tiny computers with thin sensors that you install in any shoe. Boogio also accurately captures body mechanics and can sense balance, force, and 3d movement of the foot. The core technology has applications in virtual reality, training, rehab, and enterprise solutions. 

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Founding Fathers: Revolutionary Inventors

This Fourth of July marks 239 years since the Founding Fathers declared independence from Great Britain. Eleven years later, they drafted the United States Constitution. There’s no doubt that these achievements are historic – many would say legendary.

But our Founding Fathers were revolutionary in more ways than one. That’s why, in honor of Independence Day, we’d like to highlight a few of the Founding Fathers who not only thought of the constitutional Patent Clause, the foundation of the American IP system, but also proudly invented prolifically.

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Town Hall Seattle Recap: Nathan Myhrvold and Richard Thaler Discuss Behavioral Economics

Last month, IV founder and CEO Nathan Myhrvold met up with renowned behavioral economist Richard Thaler at Town Hall Seattle to discuss Thaler’s theories about how people, not “rational actors,” drive real-world economics.

Town Hall Seattle Recap: Nathan Myhrvold and Richard Thaler Discuss Behavioral Economics

The two had a lively discussion that’s well worth the listen. You can listen to the program in Town Hall Seattle's media library here: http://townhallseattle.org/event/richard-thaler/.

Unlike traditional economics, Thaler’s work seeks to incorporate human nature – including willpower, preference, and error. His most recent book, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, tells the story of his relatively young field.

During their wide-ranging discussion, Nathan and Thaler addressed questions like:

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News You Can Use: Young Inventors Transforming Society

What comes to mind when someone says the word, “inventor?” Do you picture white coats and large laboratories? Maybe someone standing at a table pouring different-colored liquids into flasks? And yes, some inventors might actually match these characteristics. But, on the whole, the truth is that inventors come in all different shapes and sizes. In fact, some game-changing inventors are just beginning their innovative careers. For this edition of News You Can Use, we’ve profiled a few stories about exciting young inventors who are truly changing the world.  

News You Can Use: Young Inventors Transforming Society

20-Year-Old Invents Ocean-Cleaning Device

Boyan Slat is helping to clean up the ocean like never before. Only 20, he devised a system of floating plastic barriers that holds a net-like device and has the potential to remove more than 70 million kilograms of plastic waste in just 10 years. And it’s not only removing waste, it’s also breaking records – the 6,500-foot-wide apparatus has been labeled the longest floating structure to ever be put in the ocean. Oh, and Slat’s project is all part of the nonprofit he runs, Ocean Cleanup. And all of this at the age of 20.

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Reuters Reports: Innovation is at an all-time high

At IV, we believe that innovation, intellectual property, and a thriving economy are all interconnected. We aren’t alone. The “2015 State of Innovation” report from Thomson Reuters explains the importance of innovation for a growing economic future. “Innovation is global and is at the heart of the global economy,” the report says. But that’s not all. The report also makes clear that intellectual property, and specifically patents, are vital instruments for companies and the economies they benefit.

Reuters Reports: Innovation is at an all-time high

Image courtesy of Thomson Reuters. Their full report can be viewed here.

Here are some more details and quotes from the report:

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With no medical background, an engineer #invented a tumor-killing machine. Now human trials begin. ow.ly/Q87Ek via @Newsweek

Jul 28

Check out how #IVLab is improving microscopy to better detect #tuberculosis in the developing world. ow.ly/Q2H0C

Jul 27

America’s #IP is worth more than $5 trillion- nearly half of the country’s economic growth bit.ly/1VlI9jA via @AmericanIP

Jul 21