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News You Can Use: National Inventors Month Edition

We relish the opportunity during National Inventors Month to profile organizations, IV staff, and invention. Check out some of our favorite news stories from May. 

News You Can Use: National Inventors Month Edition

IV in the News

Arty Makagon speaks with Fast Company about the photonic fence and its debut at Hannover Messe.

SeattlePi profiles Intellectual Ventures and the Lab, speaking with Edward Jung and 3ric Johansson about technology including the photonic fence, the Mazzi can, and oxygen masks.

Courosh Mehanian details the Lab’s Autoscope that uses artificial intelligence to detect malaria for OZY.

GeekWire explains the use of metamaterials from IV spinout Echodyne.

Inventors

MIT Sloan Management School profiles Honey Bajaj, a member of the Integrated Design and Management program at MIT, who finalized a design for a manual filter to melt snow into purified water.

NBC News highlights 14-year-old Taylor Rosenthal who created RecMed, a first-aid vending machine, and is waiting for the right partner to come along.  

Read the full story »

A Salute to Edisons Everywhere

Remember the 1980s? MTV launched. The Berlin Wall fell. And people were in hot pursuit of the next great invention. The disposable camera was invented, along with disposable contact lenses. Engineers built a prototype for the first HDTV. The forensic science field was forever changed by the breakthrough of DNA fingerprinting.

A Salute to Edisons Everywhere

New inventions were debuting on the market at dizzying speeds, and many of them vastly improved health, communication and technology.

How appropriate then, that in 1983, on the anniversary of Thomas Edison’s birthday, U.S. President Ronald Regan proclaimed February 11 National Inventors’ Day “in recognition of the enormous contribution inventors make to the nation and to the world.”

Other countries have marked occasions to honor inventors, too. Argentina celebrates Inventors’ Day on September 29, the birthday of ballpoint pen inventor Laszlo Jozef Biro. Hungary celebrates on June 13, in honor of Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, who patented synthesized vitamin C.

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National Inventors Month – We’re all in this Together

Invention doesn’t just happen. At Intellectual Ventures (IV) we understand that it takes hard work, investment, an appetite for risk and a willingness to fail. That’s why we’re proud to support and collaborate with programs and organizations who are taking on big ideas around science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) while working to inspire and support future inventors. This National Inventors Month—and every month—we are grateful to the organizations we’re proud to sponsor for ensuring the next generation of innovative thinkers and doers. With their help, we continue forging a world that is constantly moving forward from good to better. 

National Inventors Month – We’re all in this Together

Washington FIRST Robotics inspires young people to discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology while building valuable life skills through competitive robotics. IV employees mentor high school teams in and around the Seattle area, helping local students learn about potential careers in the business of invention.

Pacific Science Center fuels tomorrow’s innovations by igniting curiosity and creative thinking, and IV is excited to be a part of that mission. Our support goes toward the Discovery Corps, where high school students gain experience and expertise in science careers. IV President and COO, Adriane Brown, also serves as a member of the board.

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Looking to the Future: IDF in Transition

Building on a proud history of creating some of the world's most innovative new companies, Intellectual Ventures (IV) is pleased to announce a significant change for our Invention Development Fund (IDF), which will now be independently operated by new fund managers.

Looking to the Future: IDF in Transition

Founded in 2005 and launched in 2007, IDF set out to source valuable new inventions from around the world. In the years since, it made incredible strides toward that goal by building a global network of inventors and challenging them to solve far-ranging problems.

A natural next step in the growth of the business, the decision to spin out IDF from IV recognizes a unique opportunity for IDF to expand its business model in new and exciting directions. As part of IDF’s continued effort to commercialize the inventions sourced from some of the world’s top inventors, the change provides additional strategic possibilities for the organization.

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Hannover Messe Recap: Innovating Beyond Borders

Intellectual Ventures was honored to represent the United States at the Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial-technology trade show. We’d been invited to exhibit there by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and we think we did the U.S. proud. We demonstrated technologies from three of our funds and hosted a reception that drew more than 500 people from many different countries and industries ranging from robotics to manufacturing and defense. 

Hannover Messe Recap: Innovating Beyond Borders

Several members of the Intellectual Ventures team at Hannover.

Most importantly, the event served as a proof point for a theme that IV has embraced since its founding: that all the world’s economies depend on one another when it comes to innovation. President Obama emphasized that theme in the speech he made at the start of the show, remarking that the “spirit of innovation” turns ideas into jobs everywhere.

IV’s innovating spirit looks beyond our own shores to where the need for innovation is greatest. That’s clear from the inventions we showcased at the Hannover Messe: a portable refrigeration unit for vaccine transport in developing countries, an insect-zapping “fence” for disease prevention, and several others. Lots of companies and inventors are targeting the U.S. market; we take a global perspective, and so do our partners and customers.

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Staff Spotlight: Gary McKnight, Ph.D., Scientific Program Manager

With deep and broad knowledge in the bio sciences and a focus on biotechnology, Gary McKnight, Ph.D., is always up-to-date on the latest scientific advances as he pushes to identify the next breakthrough. For National Inventors Month, we sat down with Gary to hear more about his background and perspective on invention.  

Staff Spotlight: Gary McKnight, Ph.D., Scientific Program Manager

What was your path to Intellectual Ventures (IV)?

My academic background is in radiation biology, genetics and biochemistry, and I spent a good deal of time studying human genes and cellular metabolism. I worked for a biotech company for 25 years and during that time, I was involved in both yeast and human genetics. Towards the end of my time there, I was focused on bioinformatics, as the head of information services which included the library. With my background and understanding as it relates the bio sciences, I ended up here at IV, working under Rod Hyde with the Invention Science Fund (ISF).

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Which Inventor Mastermind Are You?

Inventors are the masterminds behind all things popular: cell phones, video games, electronic dance music and more. Before these were must-haves, an inventor hovered over a lab bench somewhere, scribbling out plans for new inventions that would amaze and delight millions.

Perhaps the problem is that inventors themselves are too often overshadowed by the brilliance of their inventions. In celebration of National Inventors Month, we're shinging the spotlight on inventors everywhere.

Don’t let your inner-brilliance go unnoticed. Take the quiz to find out which inventor mastermind you resemble most.

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Behind the Breakthrough for National Inventors Month: Rafal Krepec, Lanomat, Inc. Founder

May is National Inventors Month, and at Intellectual Ventures, we owe a great debt of gratitude to the men and women who work tirelessly to develop new breakthroughs. All month long, we’ll be featuring their stories on our Insights blog, as well as our TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn profiles. Today on Behind the Breakthrough, we’re featuring inventor and entrepreneur Rafal Krepec of Lanomat, Inc. Rafal invented, patented and is now developing the DuoPad, an innovative dual-mode multi-touch trackpad that offers, not only traditional mouse attributes, but also virtualizes your hand therefore bringing full “touchscreen” functionality so users can utilize touch apps on any monitor. A true “breakthrough” in the world of graphical interface design and computing.

Behind the Breakthrough for National Inventors Month: Rafal Krepec, Lanomat, Inc. Founder

Rafal’s invention has had an interesting journey, which includes working with Intellectual Ventures as both an inventor and a partner and launching a successful crowdfunding campaign for DuoPad. Now, his invention is set to play a key role in merging the way we use computers with how we interact with touch driven devices like smartphones and tablets.

Rafal was kind enough to sit down with us to discuss his journey. Here are his insights:

Can you talk a bit about your invention and how you came up with the idea?

I’ve always been interested in how computers work, and throughout my career, I became very familiar with graphical user interface systems like the mouse and the benefits it brings to a computing system. But through my experiences, I realized that the traditional mouse had its limitations.

Unlike a touch screen or a stylus pen, a mouse doesn’t provide direct input to a computer – you can’t touch and feel or immerse in an interactive experience. Instead, the user interacts relatively with the screen by dragging around a pointer and clicking. There are many benefits of being able to have the kind of absolute input that a stylus provides or by direct touch, but direct input, like touching a screen, simply isn’t ergonomic for a vertical monitor; you get arm fatigue called “gorilla arm.” So around 2004, I invented a new pointing device that allows users to touch a horizontal surface (using a pen, or your fingers) and interact with your computer as if touching your vertical monitor. You virtually see your hand on the monitor and get to navigate and interact with your computing device by simply touching this horizontal surface; no longer limited to dragging around a pointer and clicking like you do a mouse or trackpad. This new technology effectively solves the computing gap – creating the comfortable and pleasant touch interactive computing experience for users without having to actually touch the vertical screen.

Any strong invention has to have relevance to what’s happening today. Touch is pervasive, but its true capabilities have not yet been fully realized in my opinion. It’s being used in our desktop environment but because many people use their mobile devices to run touch apps, this new input device, DuoPad, also allows people to merge their smartphone and tablet experiences with their vertically oriented computer screens, enabling the use of touch apps on monitors that are not even touch enabled. No gorilla arm, no fingerprint covered monitors. It’s great!

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News You Can Use: April Edition

It’s been a great month for news profiling inventors, inventions, mentorship and more. Check out some of the links we’re loving from April.

News You Can Use: April Edition

IV in the News

IV’s Manan Shukla (above) talks with Rural Reporters about how the AI Shield can help improve the lives of cattle and dairy farmers across the developing world.

CNBC profiles IV spinout Kymeta and their groundbreaking metamaterials satellite technology. 

Inspiring Inventions

Stanford engineers invent ‘gecko toes,’ using inspiration from lizards to design an adhesive that could let people engage in superhero-like feats like climbing walls of glass.

Think Progress profiles wearable technology developed by students to help people with disabilities.

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Join in the Celebration with World IP Day

With the core belief that ideas are valuable and with a commitment to ensuring a thriving market for innovation, Intellectual Ventures (IV) is proud to take part in celebrating World Intellectual Property Day. Started by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000, World IP Day gives us the opportunity to “learn about the role that intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) play in encouraging innovation and creativity.” This year’s theme centers on the future of media, art, and culture in the digital age. 

Join in the Celebration with World IP Day

To get into the spirit leading up to today, IV’s Phyllis Turner-Brim, Vice President and Chief IP Counsel, hosted the 2016 AIPLA Women in IP Global Networking event for the greater Seattle area last week on April 21. Looking towards the future, Turner-Brim will be one of the impressive speakers scheduled to present during IPBC Global, the annual event for global IP leaders, taking place this June in Barcelona.

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Thank you @BGC_Bellevue for programs that encourage youth to invent, innovate & pursue #STEM. #NationalInventorsMonth #GreatFutures

May 24

#Invention takes hard work, investment, and a willingness to fail: ow.ly/Hxt6300xS6A #NationalInventorsMonth

May 24

Readers’ Turn: The Inventions That Mattered Most nyti.ms/1srk80k via @UpshotNYT #NationalInventorsMonth

May 24