Whether it’s through our in-house invention effort with vast network of senior inventors or in collaboration with our network of more than 3,000 partner inventors, we’re constantly exploring the bounds of technology for commercial and humanitarian purposes. IV began inventing in 2003 and has filed patents on more than 3,000 inventions. In 2008, we also opened IV Laboratory to bring some of our boldest inventions to life. This multidisciplinary research facility tests the feasibility of IV’s inventions and demonstrates their potential for commercialization.
Here’s an overview of some of our more notable inventions:
Before you can eradicate a disease, you have to understand it
IV is developing new computer models that calculate not only how diseases spread, but also how they will respond to deliberate suppression efforts. By consolidating aspects of disease dynamics, these models can make specific projections about which combination of eradication measures will have the greatest likelihood of success in a region given the particular geography, climate, season, and environmental and social conditions there.
A safer, more affordable way to collect, store, and transport milk
In Kenya more than one million smallholder farmers rely on cow’s milk for their income, but there are few affordable options to safely collect, store, and transport it. IV is developing alternative milking and transportation systems to help rural farmers increase their supply of safe milk.
Strengthening and extending vaccine service over the last mile
Immunizations have become one of the greatest success stories in modern medicine, yet roughly 1.5 million children still die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. This is due in part to the sensitive nature of vaccines themselves, which spoil if they’re not kept at precise temperatures from manufacture to use.
A light-based alternative to pest control
The mosquito-borne malaria parasite kills nearly 1 million people each year—most of them children in developing countries. Tools like bed nets and insecticides have helped suppress the disease in many parts of the world by limiting contact between humans and mosquitoes. IV’s photonic fence adds an additional layer of protection by creating a virtual barrier that uses lasers to detect and kill mosquitoes before they enter an area.
A new path toward zero-emission energy
The U.S. alone has stockpiled more than 700,000 metric tons of depleted uranium, which conventional nuclear reactors leave behind as a waste product. The traveling-wave reactor (TWR) being developed by IV’s first spin-out company, TerraPower, would turn this nuclear waste into a source of carbon-free energy. By converting this waste directly into energy, the TWR could also eliminate the conventional re-enrichment process that increases the risk of nuclear proliferation.