Tools of the Trade: Instruments for Invention
November 5, 2014
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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