Tools of the Trade: Instruments for Invention


Tools of the Trade: Instruments for Invention

November 5, 2014

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:

The Stratasys Object500 Connex

Not that long ago, 3-D printing seemed like a technology reserved for science fiction films. At IV Lab, we use this state-of-the-art printing system to create tangible prototypes that allow us to test designs and adjust components of our inventions almost real-time instead of just looking at them on a computer screen.

The Electrical Discharge Machine

When we’re developing custom coolers for LEDs for the photonic fence or trying to slice cookware in half for Modernist Cuisine, precision counts. That’s why IV Lab uses this wire or sinker electrical discharge machine to create components for designs and experiments to exact specifications. Because machining inaccuracies can set the Lab’s work back significantly, we rely on these machines for near perfection.

The Optical Gaging Products SmartScope

As we work on projects at IV Lab, we need to take advanced measurements of our work quickly and efficiently. The SmartScope uses three types of sensors to build a single model by fusing data from the individual measurements, which offers our scientists and instrument makers a more complete, accurate picture of an object.

Measuring mosquito antennae with the SmartScope

High Performance Liquid Chromatograph

The High Performance Liquid Chromatograph helps our scientists identify and separate components of liquids in organic compounds, such as Coffee Flour. The Lab uses this instrument to measure the amount of a pure substance like caffeine, or to check for trace amounts of extraneous substances in a sample.

Femtosecond Spectrometer

This high-tech instrument uses a pulsing laser to capture a “movie” of an ultrafast chemical reaction that occurs on the order of one quadrillionth of a second (0.000000000000001). Femtochemistry holds great promise for a broad array of applications, from improved materials for electronics to new diagnostic procedures for diseases.

To learn more about IV Lab, the hardware we use, and the projects we’re working on, visit the website hereWhat tools do you keep in your maker space? Send a picture to @IVinvents.

More Buzz From IV

Leap Year Calendar – An Ancient Example of Failing for Success

When you stop to think about it, as you may have on the rare February 29th, our calendar is pretty remarkable since it was designed – and redesigned – in ancient times.

Read More
Must-See Invention Movies for the Dog Days of Summer

Courage in the face of adversity, tenacity when the goal seems impossible and an undying commitment to progress – break out the popcorn and take in the inspiration, because inventors’ stories make for fantastic movies.

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

Our favorite links this month tell stories of outside-the-box thinkers whose unique outlooks on complex problems led to life-changing solutions.

Read More