The technology, known as Eddy, was developed by CSIRO and is being commercialized by Australian company HabiDapt. Using an online interface – on a computer, smartphone or tablet – Eddy keeps track of electricity use, collects and analyses the data, and makes recommendations to help users save money. It also allows users to remotely control major appliances such as air conditioners, hot water systems and pool pumps. To reduce demand on the grid during peak periods, users can also take part in demand management programs offered by their energy company and receive rewards in return, such as discounts on their energy bill.

"This unique tool is all about giving people more control over their energy and helping them to save money. Using a simple online dashboard, people can see their energy use and make adjustments to reduce costs. The tool really highlights how easy it is for people to make big savings on their energy bill without impacting on their lifestyle. By viewing when their home is exporting excess energy to the grid, households with solar PV systems can save additional money by programming their system to run certain appliances when the sun is shining. With the option of taking part in demand management schemes, the system can also reward households for using less electricity during peak energy periods," CSIRO Research Leader Glenn Platt said.

The technology was developed at CSIRO’s energy centre in Newcastle, where scientists are working with some of the most sophisticated energy technology found anywhere in the world. The system uses cloud-based software and mini smart meters that look just like the regular circuit breakers found in your meter box. The smart meters connect to the cloud via a small internet communication device in the house. Once connected, the appliances linked to the meters can be remotely controlled. The technology is based on CSIRO’s sophisticated Energy Management System, which has also been adapted for use on King Island’s Smart Grid.

"We want to give households an energy management tool that is simple to use and unlocks lasting benefits. Eddy gives households control over their energy and saves them money. As well as giving households tools to understand and manage their energy, Eddy lets people participate in the energy market by reducing peak demand in ways that, until now, have only been available to large-scale commercial consumers," HabiDapt CEO Stephen Kubicki said.

HabiDapt is currently trialling the technology in homes with solar PV systems in Perth, and is also rolling the system out with Ergon Energy in Townsville, where it is being offered to customers as 'HomeSmart'.

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Published in CSIRO

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF), in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), announced the 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees, all of whom have changed the world through human, social and/or economic progress.

Among this year’s class of Inductees is Nobel Prize winner Shuji Nakamura, responsible for the blue light-emitting diode (LED) which enabled the white LED, and the blue laser diode; Jaap Haartsen, the inventor of Bluetooth® technology, now used in 2.7 billion devices and growing; George Alcorn, who furthered deep space exploration with his X-ray spectrometer; Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp, pioneers in display technology related to rear projection television and 3D applications; and duo Ioannis Yannas and John Burke, who have saved the lives of many burn victims with their invention of Artificial Skin.

“Our new group of Inductees have unique stories that personify the pursuit of the American dream and their relentless drive to overcome adversity,” said Invent Now, Inc. CEO Michael Oister. “Despite the obstacles, they have advanced our nation through innovative ideas, groundbreaking technologies, fearless dedication and collaborative work.”

The 2015 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees are:

George Alcorn
George Alcorn invented the Imaging X-ray Spectrometer, which significantly improved the ability of scientists to identify materials through their visual X-ray spectra and to gather analytical data on remote solar systems, including distant planets and stars.

Mary-Dell Chilton
Mary-Dell Chilton’s research in agricultural biotechnology resulted in the first Transgenic Plant, which has made it possible to develop crops with increased yields, resistance to insects and disease and the ability to tolerate adverse environmental conditions.

Jaap C. Haartsen
Jaap Haartsen led the invention of Bluetooth®, a wireless communications technology for the connection of devices over short distances. The market for Bluetooth® devices in 2014 was 2.7 billion devices and the Bluetooth® Special Interest Group (SIG) has more than 20,000 member firms using the technology in their products.

Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp
Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp are recognized as pioneers in polarization-control technology. Their inventions enabled high-speed spectrometers, color-management for business projectors and projection TVs, and the 3D digital-cinema. Their technology made it possible for movie-goers to see high-quality 3D at their neighborhood cinema, including movies such as Avatar and hundreds since.

Shuji Nakamura
Shuji Nakamura invented the blue light-emitting diode (LED), considered groundbreaking in the field of semiconductor research.  His blue LED enabled the elusive white LED, and he also invented the blue laser diode used in Blu-ray technology.

John Burke and Ioannis Yannas
Surgeon John Burke (honored posthumously) and MIT engineering and chemistry professor Ioannis Yannas collaborated on research Burke was conducting for burn patients. Together, they developed the first commercially reproducible artificial human skin that encouraged and facilitated new skin growth.

Edith Clarke
Edith Clarke (honored posthumously), a pioneering female electrical engineer, invented a graphical calculator that greatly simplified the calculations necessary to determine the electrical characteristics of long electrical transmission lines.

Marion Donovan
Marion Donovan (honored posthumously) invented a waterproof diaper cover, a predecessor of the disposable diaper; she patented it and sold the rights for $1 million.  Constantly creating inventions to meet life’s everyday needs, she is credited with being one of a small number of successful women inventors of her era.

Charles Drew
Charles Drew (honored posthumously) was an African-American physician and researcher renowned for his groundbreaking work in blood plasma preservation.

Thomas Jennings
Thomas Jennings (honored posthumously) invented a process that he called “dry-scouring” – what we now call dry cleaning – and received a patent for his process in 1821, becoming the first African-American to be granted a patent.

Paul MacCready
Paul MacCready (honored posthumously) changed how people thought about aviation with his invention of the Gossamer Condor, the first human-powered craft.

Stanford Ovshinsky
Stanford Ovshinsky (honored posthumously) was a prolific inventor who specialized in amorphous materials that resulted in dramatic improvements in battery technology, electronics and solar power. Ovshinsky had more than 400 United States and international patents, including many related to the nickel-metal hydride battery and the field of alternative energy.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in the Madison Building on the USPTO Campus in Alexandria, VA, was established in 1973 and honors monumental individuals who have contributed great technological and science achievements and helped stimulate growth for our nation and beyond. The criteria for induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame requires candidates to hold a U.S. patent that has contributed significantly to the nation's welfare and the advancement of science and the useful arts.

“This year’s Inductees once again remind us of how significantly the world as we know it can be transformed when innovative minds apply themselves to vexing challenges,” said Michelle K. Lee, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO. “We are honored to join with the National Inventors Hall of Fame in giving due credit to these inspiring innovators who have improved our lives while maximizing the strengths of the U.S. patent system.”

Both new and previous Inductees will be honored in the greatest celebration of American innovation. This three-day event series held in our nation’s capital will include the National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony emceed by Mo Rocca, CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and Host of Innovation Nation.

•    May 11th - Illumination Ceremony on the USPTO Campus in Alexandria, VA, where Inductees will place individual illuminated hexagons bearing their names in the centerpiece display to symbolize lighting the path of history throughout the nation, while simultaneously influencing the future of innovation

•    May 12th – A VIP Reception followed by the official National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, where the new Inductee class will be honored for lighting the “fire of genius” through their contributions to the prosperity and well-being of America and the world

•    May 13th - The National Inventors Hall of Fame will illuminate America’s path to innovation through a panel discussion comprised of some of the most influential technology leaders in America, presented with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

As part of their continued involvement in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Inductees will help to foster the development of America’s next generation of innovators by inspiring the curriculum of Camp Invention, the nation’s premier summer enrichment day camp that encourages innovation in youth and focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Inductees will also help select winners in the annual Collegiate Inventors Competition, a national platform for showcasing the emerging ideas and technologies that will benefit our society in the future.

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3D printers are becoming increasingly common. Architects, technicians, designers and inventors all make use of this technique to create the most beautiful and complex shapes in the blink of an eye. But not only professionals spend their time printing in three dimensions. A growing amount of consumers buy 3D printers or visit ‘FabLabs’ where these printers are publically accessible.

There are websites with countless 3D designs available for download so people can easily print other people’s vase, toy car or iPhone case. But wouldn’t it be more fun to create your own designs? Most definitely, yet designing and printing your own objects requires specific knowledge of complex 3D design programs. Rick Companje, founder of Doodle3D also ran into this problem.

A Media technology graduate and co-founder of Globe4D and FabLab Amersfoort, Rick is at the frontier of many new technologies. In this Dutch Fabrication Laboratory he spends his time lasercutting, CNC milling and working with other digitally driven tools. Though his results with the 3D printer were limited by his little experience with 3D design software.

For this reason Rick started developing Doodle3D, a very simple sketching tool with which anyone can bring their hand-drawn drawings come to life with a 3D printer, but without having the steep learning curve of 3D CAD programs.

It works like this; you make a drawing on a tablet, smartphone or computer, connect the Doodle3D WiFi Box to the 3D printer, and with the press of a button your drawing is sent to the printer. The printer builds, layer for layer, the 3D model out of heated plastic, which immediatly cools and solidifies into a rigid 3D shape. The beauty of it is that your Doodle will be completely unique! But you can do more with Doodle3D. A simple starting shape – like a circle – can be extruded, turned, twisted and bent into a spatial 3D object. This way your flat 2D drawing becomes an interesting 3D object with very few actions.

In order to finish the development of Doodle3D and share it with the world the Doodle3D team is launching a campaign on kickstarter. By pledging for the Doodle3D project backers can receive one of our WiFi Boxes, or a different reward and support the development of this project. The raised money will be used by the team to facilitate Doodle3D’s compatibility with every mainstream OS and every 3D printer, and of course make the rewards a reality! Accessible 3D printing for everyone!

For more information, visit:

Published in Doodle3d

Navy scientists and engineers in 2012 once again had the world's most significant government portfolio of newly patented discoveries and inventions, according to a November report published by the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The Navy topped the list of international government agencies on the IEEE's annual Patent Power Scorecard for the third year in a row with a total of 320 patents, twice as many as its nearest U.S. competitors. Its closest global competitor, the Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission in France, had 247 patents.

"Delivering innovative and advanced capabilities is the key to ensuring national security and keeping the Department of the Navy ready to meet existing and future challenges," said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder. "The pipeline of intellectual property produced by scientists and engineers in partnerships across the Naval Research Enterprise is the backbone to bringing new innovations to bear for the Navy and Marine Corps."

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) serves the Navy's science and technology needs and is responsible for the service's policy and direction concerning patents, inventions, trademarks, copyrights and royalty payments (intellectual property).

The Navy also recently made the second annual Top 100 Global Innovators list compiled by Thompson Reuters, the world's largest multimedia and information conglomerate. The Navy and the Army are the first government agencies to make the list.

While highlighting the quantity of the Navy's scientific discoveries, these distinctions also emphasize the quality of the research undertaken by Navy scientists-and the impact of their inventions over time.

"This goes beyond simply the number of patents an organization is getting," said John Karasek, supervisory intellectual property counsel at ONR. "This confirms the strength of the Navy's patents and shows that the Navy gets a lot of very significant, groundbreaking patents."

One of the notable patents obtained by the Navy last year was for a fuel cell that can be embedded in the seafloor to convert the interaction of marine sediment and oxygen into electricity. The patent, covering an invention made by the Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL) Leonard M. Tender, can help reduce the reliance on expensive batteries to power electronic devices such as remote sensors.

In the 1970s, technology invented by Roger L. Easton, a research scientist at NRL, laid the foundation for the Global Positioning System (GPS), commonly used for navigation in today's cars and mobile devices.

IEEE describes itself as the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. It publishes the scorecard each year to rank the relative significance of various organizations' patent portfolios.

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Published in Navy

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced its call for exhibitors for the 2013 Innovation Expo, to be held on the agency’s Alexandria, Va. campus, June 20-22, 2013.

Free and open to the public, the Expo will feature patented and trademarked technologies that have made demonstrable contributions to America’s competitiveness and standard of living. A limited number of slots will be awarded on a rolling basis until exhibition space is filled, and the agency is encouraging early applications. The deadline for applications is February 13, 2013.

“This Expo is the first of its kind for the USPTO,” said Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David J. Kappos. “It will give exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their technology and engage the public, while highlighting the importance of the USPTO’s mission to promote and protect the fruits of American innovation.”

Exhibitors will be selected by an independent committee made up of representatives from the National Academy of Inventors, the United Inventors Association of America, Edison Nation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

For more information, visit:

Published in USPTO

The 41st International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva will be held April 10-14, 2013 in Palexpo, under the patronage of the Swiss government, of the State and the City of Geneva and of the World Intellectual Property Organization - WIPO.

With more than 780 exhibitors from 46 countries and 60,000 visitors from all five continents, it is the most important Exhibition exclusively devoted to innovation in the world.

Each year, 1,000 absolutely new inventions are shown by companies, inventors, universities, institutes and State and private organizations.

The International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva is the ideal place for exhibitors to meet the public at large, the media and businessmen, in order to diffuse the inventions rapidly on an international level.

The fact that the Grand Prix of the Exhibition and 53 special prizes are awarded, gives the inventions a chance to be immediately recognised at their real value.

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Published in Inventions Geneva

It is often the case with new military technologies that warfighters need to adjust to their equipment to access needed capabilities. As missions shift, however, and warfighters are required to work in smaller teams and access more remote locations, it is technology that must adapt if it is to remain useful. Desirable features for many new man-portable systems include small size, light weight, minimal power consumption, low cost, ease of use, multi-functionality and, to the extent possible, network friendliness.

DARPA created the Pixel Network for Dynamic Visualization program, or PIXNET, to apply these features to the cameras and sensors used by dismounted warfighters and small combat units for battlefield awareness and threat detection and identification. PIXNET aims to develop helmet-mounted and clip-on camera systems that combine visible, near infrared, and infrared sensors into one system and aggregate the outputs. PIXNET technology would ingest the most useful data points from each component sensor and fuse them into a common, information-rich image that can be viewed on the warfighter’s heads-up display, and potentially be shared across units.

The base technologies DARPA proposes to use already exist and are currently used by warfighters. However, these devices typically have dedicated functionality, operate independently of one another and provide value only to the immediate operator. Through PIXNET, DARPA seeks to fuse the capabilities of these devices into a single multi-band system, thus alleviating physical overburdening of warfighters, and develop a tool that is network-ready, capable of sharing imagery with other warfighters.

“Existing sensor technologies are a good jumping-off point, but PIXNET will require innovations to combine reflective and thermal bands for maximum visibility during the day or night, and then package this technology for maximum portability. What we really need are breakthroughs in aperture design, focal plane arrays, electronics, packaging and materials science,” said Nibir Dhar, DARPA program manager for PIXNET.  “Success will be measured as the minimization of size, weight, power and cost of the system and the maximization of functionality.”

To help boost processing power while minimizing size and energy use, PIXNET sensors will interface wirelessly with an Android-based smart phone for fusing images and for networking among units. Although the primary focus of PIXNET is on sensor development, proposers are instructed to develop whatever apps are necessary to achieve the desired functionality for phone and camera.

In addition to technological innovation, proposers are encouraged to develop plans for transitioning the low-cost camera system into manufacturing. In the case of the helmet-mounted system, DARPA’s preferred cost goal in a manufacturing environment producing 10,000 units per month is $3,300 per unit.

For more information, visit:

Published in DARPA

Engaging young Americans in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) continues to be a key strategy to maintaining the United States' position as a global leader. Yet a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce found that nearly half of the U.S. workforce — women — continues to be a minority in STEM fields, holding less than 25 percent of jobs. The same report found that women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.

The Lemelson-MIT Program is helping to address this gender gap, awarding — based on technical merit — three all-girl schools up to $10,000 in grant funding as part of the 2012-2013 InvenTeam initiative. Sixteen teams total comprised of students, teachers and mentors will pursue year-long invention projects that address real-world problems. Now in its 10th year as a national grants program, InvenTeams aims to inspire a new generation of inventors by engaging participants in creative thinking, problem-solving and hands-on learning in STEM.

"The gender gap within STEM fields can be attributed, in part, to the need for more female role models in related careers," said Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. "Hands-on learning programs that reach young women and men, like Lemelson-MIT's InvenTeam initiative, ensure that we continue to grow our future pool of science and technology leaders and icons."

Proposed by public, private, charter, and home-based school teams from around the country, this year's inspiring InvenTeam projects include the invention of a life jacket for prolonged search and rescue, a bacteria-powered battery and an ozone water purification system. Through the InvenTeam process, students develop leadership, teamwork and technical building skills, while engaging with professionals from industry and academia in their communities as they develop their invention. Through their InvenTeam experiences, Students gain the skills necessary to be competitive and successful in both their education and careers.

"This year's projects, from inventions for environmental sustainability to those for health and safety, show that young Americans are not just motivated to invent, but are committed to improving the lives of others through invention," said Leigh Estabrooks, the Lemelson-MIT Program's invention education officer. "Our goal with InvenTeams is to help inspire both men and women to be future inventors."

Meet the 2012–13 InvenTeams

A respected panel of invention and academic leaders from MIT, the Lemelson-MIT Program, industry and InvenTeam student alumni selected the InvenTeams from a national pool of applicants. The 2012–13 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams and their proposed inventions are:


  • ACTS Home Education Cooperative (Charlottesville, Va.): Wind turbine for traffic airflow capture
  • Beaver Country Day School (Chestnut Hill, Mass.): Automated robotic vehicular independence system
  • Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School (Groton, Conn.): Compost water heating system
  • John P. Stevens High School (Edison, N.J.): Life jacket for prolonged search and rescue
  • Nashua High School North (Nashua, N.H.): Bacteria-powered battery
  • Natick High School (Natick, Mass.): Ice search and rescue remotely-operated vehicle
  • Newton North High School (Newton, Mass.): Pedestrian alert system
  • Sturgis West Charter Public School West (Hyannis, Mass.): Marine mammal rescue transporter
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Alexandria, Va.): Emotive aid for combating autism


  • LEARN Science and Math Academy (Kansas City, Mo.): Radio frequency identification system for medicine tracking
  • St. Ursula Academy (Toledo, Ohio): Pill dispensing organizational system


  • Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders (Austin, Texas): Pressurized produce preserver


  • Colfax High School (Colfax, Calif.): Construction layout tool
  • Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona (Phoenix, Ariz.): Drowning prevention device
  • Henry M. Gunn High School (Palo Alto, Calif.): Solar egg incubator
  • Los Alamitos High School (Los Alamitos, Calif.): Ozone water purification system

In June 2013, the 2012-2013 InvenTeams will showcase their projects at EurekaFest, the Lemelson-MIT Program's public, multi-day celebration of the inventive spirit at MIT.

Calling all young inventors

The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam application for the 2013–14 school year is now available. Teams of high school students, teachers and mentors are encouraged to apply.

For more information, visit:

Published in Lemelson-MIT

InventHelp’s Invention & New Product Exposition (INPEX) is pleased to announce the dates for its 28th annual INPEX® show, June 19-21, 2013. INPEX, America’s Largest Invention Trade Show, features inventors from the United States as well as more than 20 countries. The 2013 show will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

InventHelp’s INPEX is a unique trade show that brings inventors together with industry representatives in one convenient networking forum. The show will also feature private product searches, where inventors can present ideas to large, well-known companies who are looking for new products to add to their existing lines, as well as provide feedback to the inventors about their products. Schroeder and Tremayne, Rubbermaid, Danco, Hampton Direct, Irwin Tools, SkyMall, Plews & Edelmann, Reckitt Benckiser and Elmer’s have already signed on to conduct product searches at INPEX 2013, with more companies coming soon.

The show will again present the INPEX Inventor’s University, a series of seminars, presentations and panel discussions on topics like prototyping, patenting and manufacturing.

“We are very excited to have set the dates for our 28th annual show, and to move the show to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center,” said Nicole Hait, trade show director. “Our show continues to grow, and we look forward to expanding with more inventions and more corporations attending. Corporate America has never been more interested in inventions.”

INPEX is a service of InventHelp, America’s largest invention submission company. If you are an inventor who might be interested in exhibiting at INPEX, prime space is now available. Please visit our website for up-to-date information or call 888-54-INPEX to speak to one of our INPEX account executives. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to exhibit at America’s largest invention trade show.                   

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Published in INPEX

Star Prototype has helped turn an innovative idea for a unisex travel razor into a commercial product for the discerning traveller by delivering the key elements of Cormia Design’s new Pocket Razor.

Designed by Mario Cormier, the owner of Canada-based Cormia Design, the Pocket Razor is TSA approved meaning it is ideal for men and women on the go, and can also be used on an everyday basis. It is manufactured in high quality aluminium, comes with a cover and keychain and accepts all popular twin blade cartridges.
Cormier said: “Since I started shaving back in 1980 I’ve experimented with virtually every kind of razor imaginable, but never found the perfect travel one. So with the intention of developing a solution that ticked the boxes the others failed to satisfy I set about creating the Pocket Razor.”

“Of course the job of taking these designs and developing a working product out of them is a huge challenge, and I couldn’t have picked a better partner than Star Prototype.

“They were a great company to do business with. Their service was always fast and efficient and the quality of both their work and communication was excellent. I’m certainly looking forward to working with them again.”

Star’s brief was to develop the tooling and parts for the Pocket Razor. A job that included producing a cover made of Aluminium 6063, which was created using extrusion processing. The team also developed 15 samples of the different cover finishes available so that Cormia was able to select the right option for them. The chosen satin finish was then cleaned and coated in order to protect its surface and prevent oxidisation. Star also made the razor by die casting with ADC12.

Prior to delivery, all 500 parts developed by Star were put through a rigorous inspection process to ensure everything was the correct shape, the right material and that it passed the Faro test.

Gordon Styles, managing director of Star Prototype, said: “While we pride ourselves on the speed of our service, we will never allow the quality of our work to suffer as a result of trying to complete a project in the quickest possible time.”

“Everything we do undergoes a full inspection prior to delivery. We check everything from size, shape and finish to the exact content of the metallic material used and only when everything has passed every test do we allow the product to leave our factory.”

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Published in Star Prototype

Time spent waiting for your beer at the bar may soon be over. iPourIt allows patrons to pour their own draft beer and wine on tap while keeping tabs on the ounces poured. This new system is the latest product to receive the Cool Idea! Award from Proto Labs (NYSE: PRLB), the world’s fastest manufacturer of CNC machined and injection molded parts.
The Cool Idea! Award was launched by the Maple Plain, Minn.-based company in 2011 to give product designers the opportunity to bring innovative products to life. This year, Proto Labs expanded the program to the European Union and will provide $250,000 total worth of prototyping and short-run production services to award recipients.
“The combined benefit to the business and the customer is what makes iPourIt such a cool idea,” says Larry Lukis, founder and chief technology officer of Proto Labs. “The fact that it not only eliminates a customer’s wait time, but also helps the bar provide better service and reduce waste is a classic win-win.”
When a bar makes the decision to install iPourIt, they can either move some or all of their taps to a location accessible to customers and fit them with iPourIt valves, meters and RFID readers; or install a pre-configured standalone kegerator. A customer can obtain an RFID wristband, dubbed the iPourIt Pass, from a staff member who scans the patron’s driver’s license and credit card to activate the wristband. When the customer initiates a pour, the iPourIt Pass reader scans the wristband, verifies the account and checks to make sure the customer hasn’t reached any limits set by the bar. The customer then pours his or her own drink. The meter tracks the pour and automatically adds the exact ounces poured to the customer’s tab. Customers can also create a profile on the iPourIt website to see the beers they’ve poured at all iPourIt equipped locations, rate them, find favorite beers at nearby taps, reserve pints ahead of time and even buy rounds for friends.
The company knew they needed injection molded parts that would withstand heavy use in a bar environment and selected Proto Labs not only to earn a shot at the Cool Idea! Award, but also because the parts would be manufactured in the United States.
“I started creating the program and hardware very soon after a particularly long wait for my drink at a busy sports bar,” says Brett Jones, chief technology officer of iPourIt. “Working with Proto Labs and receiving parts and services as a Cool Idea! winner has freed up a lot of my time to focus on other aspects of our business.”
iPourIt Chief Executive Officer Joseph McCarthy adds, “We thought iPourIt had a chance to receive an award, but we were still surprised when we got the call that we won. Having a company like Proto Labs believe in the potential of the business, and offer their support as we work to get off the ground is incredible.”

iPourIt technology is patent pending. The system consists of a management workstation, meter, valve, iPourit board, iPourIt Pass wristbands and an iPourIt Pass reader at each tap handle. The company provides restaurants, bars, cruise ships and entertainment venues a unique option in customer service. The system is recommended for establishments that sell at least 25 kegs per month, and it is available in either a fully integrated kegerator system, or by retro-fitting existing tap lines.

For more information, visit: or

Published in Proto Labs

Cool Idea! is a Proto Labs program to award innovative thinking and help get great ideas off the ground. We’re awarding up to $250,000 worth of real, functioning parts from our Firstcut and/or Protomold services in 2012, for use in prototyping, testing or production. We want to recognize innovative thinking at a point where we can help convert those ideas into real-life coolness.

Applying for an award is easy; just complete an application and tell us why your latest project or product is cool. You will need a 3D CAD file and be at a point in your project where you can use your award within 90 days.

For more information, visit:

Published in Proto Labs

The latest product selected as a Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award recipient – the first to win the award in Europe – was designed to help the visually impaired be more independent. Télétact, created by Paris-based IN3G, is a high-tech accessory for traditional white canes. It uses infrared detection and vibration feedback to identify hazards and obstacles and helps users navigate new environments.
For the visually impaired, the traditional white cane is extremely useful; although, it does have limitations. The new Télétact, however, helps the visually impaired travel more independently, even in unfamiliar environments. Télétact is a small box that easily attaches to a standard white cane. The box emits a harmless infrared beam that is projected horizontally along the ground up to 27 inches ahead of the user. The beam is also projected upward at a 45 degree angle. When the infrared beam strikes an object, the Télétact box sends a vibration through the cane, which increases or decreases according to the proximity of the object.
When IN3G was ready to test and validate the mechanical parts (for example, the opening of the battery cover), achieve a perfect fit, and prepare the tools for injection molding, they turned to Proto Labs. After two rounds of prototypes Proto Labs produced ten molds and delivered one hundred Télétact cases. The final external casing and battery housing is made of black polycarbonate, and designed to protect the infrared light system, the power supply, circuit boards and vibration device.
The ingenuity of the Télétact product – and its unquestionable usefulness for the visually impaired – won over Larry Lukis, founder and CTO of Proto Labs. "We were convinced by the potential and simplicity of the product,” he said. “IN3G has improved upon the white cane and created a device that can help millions of people."
IN3G specializes in research and high-technology for universities and public research organizations. Their research on infrared technology helped them develop the Télétact for a foundation that provides guide dogs and assistance for the visually impaired.  
"When the team at Proto Labs France suggested we submit Télétact for the Cool Idea! Award, we didn’t hesitate,” said Roger Leroux, technical manager of IN3G. “We’ve worked with Proto Labs before, so we were very excited about this opportunity. Winning the Cool Idea! Award has allowed us to manufacture enough parts to equip one hundred people with Télétact for real-life tests.”
The Cool Idea! Award is a program created by Proto Labs that offers designers the opportunity to realize innovative products that otherwise would not get funded. In 2012, Proto Labs expanded the program to the European Union and is now offering up to the equivalent of $250,000 in services for prototyping and low volume production.

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Published in Proto Labs

Sports enthusiasts around the globe have long been accustomed to enlisting friends, family and even strangers to serve as amateur videographers. But even if you’re able to convince someone to invest the time and energy to help out, usable footage is never a guarantee. Now athletes ranging from professional surfers to little league soccer players can capture high quality video of themselves on their own, from a distance, thanks to SOLOSHOT, the most recent recipient of the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award.

SOLOSHOT is a two-piece cooperative object tracking system that combines with virtually any camera to track and film a moving subject from up to 2000 feet away. Simply mount a camera on the motorized base and slip the remote armband on. Once you’ve completed the simple pairing process, the SOLOSHOT remote and base units remain in radio communication allowing the SOLOSHOT base to automatically rotate to keep your camera pointed at you.

“SOLOSHOT began as a surfer’s dream,” says Soloshot, Inc. Founder and CEO, Chris Boyle. “Being able to set your camera up on the beach and head out into the break knowing that every wave and wipeout will be smoothly tracked and filmed is a great feeling.”

Both the SOLOSHOT remote and base feature rechargeable batteries that last more than five hours on a single charge and the waterproof remote is designed to handle demanding ocean environments. Boyle and Co-founder, Scott Taylor, both engineers, addressed security by designing an access point to lock the camera to the base and the included professional grade tripod can be locked to nearby fixed objects such as a tree or life guard stand. Additionally, the base features a bright feedback LED that lets you know the camera is pointing at you while you’re on the water or racing around the track.

“SOLOSHOT is a product with a ton of potential,” says Proto Labs founder and CTO Larry Lukis. “You can see its appeal to individual athletes but I can imagine coaches using it as a training tool, parents putting it to work at their child’s soccer games, and even documentary filmmakers getting creative with the technology.”

Like many Cool Idea! Award winners, the SOLOSHOT team first encountered Proto Labs when searching for a manufacturer that could provide reasonably priced parts in a hurry. “When you’re in the lab and excited about your progress, you don’t want to wait months for an injection molded part to show up,” says Alex Sammons, CTO of SOLOHSOT. “I don’t know of another company in the world that you can call and say, ‘I need injection molded or CNC-machined parts tomorrow.’ Their responsive customer service staff and shipping times are unmatched.”

SOLOSHOT joins a growing list of cutting-edge products that have received the Cool Idea! Award. Now in its second year, Cool Idea! is an award program offered by Proto Labs that gives product designers the opportunity to bring innovative products to life. In 2012, Proto Labs expanded the program’s reach to include the European Union, and is now offering up to $250,000 of prototyping and short-run production services.

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Published in Proto Labs

Maker Faire, the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth, held May 19 - 20, 2012 at the San Mateo County Event Center, promises a memorable weekend of creativity, learning, inspiration, and making. From learning about Arduino and 3D printing, to interacting with robots, a life-size electric giraffe and mobile muffins, Maker Faire has it all. In addition to well over 700 Makers exhibiting their amazing creations at the festival, speakers, special events, and other highlights of the weekend include:

  • BrollyFlock: A 32-foot tall installation of a renegade flock of umbrellas, BrollyFlock is fun and inviting for all. BrollyFlock's effects are controlled by an interactive Arduino control system that takes input from the crowd to produce light, shade, mist and fire.

  • Death Defying Figure 8 Pedal Car Races: Showcasing their handmade, unusual pedal powered cars, Bunnyfluffer Cyclecars and the Fun Bike Unicorn Club will compete on a figure eight race track for all to see.

  • Hotshot the Robot: The world's only living robot, HotShot has hands that feel, eyes that see, and a heart that beats. Come meet HotShot for yourself and learn about makes him tick.

  • A Maker Faire favorite, attendees will enjoy hearing from Adam Savage of MythBusters. Adam will be speaking at 11am on Sunday, May 20, in Fiesta Hall.

  • Massimo Banzi, the co-founder of the Arduino Product, will be speaking about the "State of Arduino" on Saturday, May 19 at 3pm on the Center Stage.

  • Eben Upton, Founder of Raspberry Pi, speaks on Saturday, May 19 at 1pm, on Raspberry Pi: How a $35 Computer Will Give Students an Appetite for STEM. Parents and educators alike are sure to find this presentation interesting and informative.

  • On Sunday, May 20, at 2pm, Ben Davis, Amy Critchett and Timothy Childs from Illuminate the Arts and Saeed Shahmirzai from Zoon Engineering, will showcase Leo Villareal's "The Bay Lights: 1.5 Miles of Public Art on the Bay Bridge." Learn how 25,000 individually addressable LEDs are programmed to create a unique fine arts experience that so many of us will view on a daily basis!

  • Homegrown Village: Located in the Show Barn, Homegrown Village is a lively celebration of agrarian skills, earth-friendly living, and the sources of good food! Make cheese with urban farmers, learn how to preserve all kinds of foods, and take home your own hand-made butter.

Maker Faire Goldsmith Sponsor, GE will be featuring GE Garages. GE Garages is a skill-building center powered by TechShop and developed in partnership with Skillshare, Quirky, Make and Inventables to serve as an advanced manufacturing lab for technologists, entrepreneurs and every day Americans. The innovation and manufacturing center aims to spark interest and engagement for modern making from prototyping inventions to modern manufacturing-based technologies through hands-on experiences with 3D printers, a CNC Mill, laser cutter, injection molder and through special classes in the space. Come learn about the future of making and get to make something yourself!

TechShop, another Goldsmith Sponsor, is a membership-based open access workshop and prototyping studio. Often referred to as "a gym for makers," TechShop provides members with access to a world class workspace, tools, machines, instruction, mentoring, and a community of fellow makers. "For the first time in human history we're truly democratizing access to the tools of innovation. And we're doing it for about the cost of a bad coffee addiction," said Mark Hatch, TechShop's CEO. Hear Mark speak about this topic on Saturday, May 19, at 3:30 pm on Center Stage.

Exhibiting at every Bay Area Maker Faire since the inaugural event in 2006, TechShop has become a perennial favorite with makers and attendees. Located in Expo Hall, TechShop will showcase TechShop makers working on their latest innovations (including Andy Filo and his jetpack), and a hands-on make-and-take activity area. TechShop will also be offering Maker Faire exclusive membership deals, so visit the TechShop booth and join thousands of makers who call TechShop home.

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Published in Maker Faire

InventHelp’s INPEX®, America’s Largest Invention Trade Show, is pleased to announce that QVC, one of the largest multimedia retailers in the world, will be at INPEX® 2012 conducting a live product search.

QVC will be at INPEX 2012 on Friday, June 15, looking for inventors for its QVC Sprouts Program. This program gives entrepreneurs with a retail ready product the opportunity to break into the direct-to-consumer marketplace. QVC will hold a review panel comprised of their buyers at INPEX to uncover products for possible inclusion in Sprouts.

Applying for the Sprouts program gives the inventor’s product a chance to be one of five products put up for vote for a period of one week to the QVC online community. This one week voting period allows the inventor and QVC to judge consumer interest in the product. At week’s end, the invention getting the highest number of votes will be featured for sale on QVC’s website.

Should the invention be put up for sale on its website, QVC will provide the inventor with aid, assistance and accessibility to grow their sales. The goal is to grow these QVC Sprouts over time up to and including sales presentations on QVC TV. This panel is open only to INPEX exhibitors at the 2012 show, held June 13-15, just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa.

INPEX is a service of InventHelp®, America’s largest invention submission company. If you are an inventor who might be interested in exhibiting at INPEX, limited space is now available. Please visit our website here for up-to-date information or call 888-54-INPEX to speak to one of our INPEX account executives.

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Published in INPEX

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) today announced the final winners of its popular Get on the Shelf contest: HumanKind Water, PlateTopper and SnapIt Eyeglass Repair Kit.

More than 4,000 inventors, entrepreneurs and small businesses from across the country entered the contest with video submissions for products ranging from household wares and children’s toys to organic food and green items. Over one million votes were cast by the public to vie for the opportunity to be carried at and in Walmart U.S. stores.

HumanKind Water, a bottled water company that gives 100 percent of its net profits towards clean drinking water for underdeveloped communities worldwide, was the Grand Prize winner. PlateTopper, a kitchen product that transforms dinner plates into airtight food storage containers, came in second. SnapIt Eyeglass Repair Kit, a screw kit to fix glasses in 30 seconds, was the third winner. All three products will be available on and HumanKind Water will also be on physical shelves in select Walmart U.S. stores soon.

“Get on the Shelf has brought out the best in American ingenuity and creativity with products that are clever, fun and useful,” said Joel Anderson, president and CEO of “The three winners demonstrated a deep passion, incredible imagination, and sheer persistence in their journey. We congratulate them and are proud to carry their products at Walmart.”

HumanKind Water
HumanKind is on a mission to deliver clean filtered water to people in the world who need it the most. HumanKind, based in Philadelphia, reports that more than one billion people – one in seven across the globe– lack access to clean drinking water and half of all hospital beds in the world are filled with people dying from lack of clean water or sanitation. With the digging of wells, installation of filtration and chlorination systems and possible harvesting of rain, HumanKind believes the problem can be eradicated. For them, if every American purchased $10 worth of HumanKind Water a year – less than what most spend on Halloween candy – it could nearly eradicate one of the world’s largest and most tragic physical problems. HumanKind Water will be available soon on In the meantime customers can sign up for an email alert to notify them when the product is available.

PlateTopper, based in San Francisco, is the brainchild of Michael Tseng who first developed a prototype for the product in 2005 when he was studying at Princeton University. Michael then went on to complete his graduate studies in biomedical engineering and medicine while working on PlateTopper part-time. In the last year, Michael has spent all of his time perfecting PlateTopper to enable people to quickly and easily store food right on the dinner plate. The product is now available for sale at for $19.77.

SnapIt Eyeglass Repair Kit
SnapIt Eyeglass Repair Kit, out of East Wenatchee, Washington, is a patented screw kit that fixes sunglasses or eyeglasses in 30 seconds. Inventor Nancy Tedeschi created SnapIt when her mother used a dangling earring to hold her broken glasses together. After starting on a path to create eyeglass charms, Nancy wanted an easier way to screw together eyeglasses and reinvented the tiny screws that are hard to grasp. SnapIt’s design employs a feeder tab that guides the screws in place, and can easily be snapped off once the glasses are secured. SnapIt will be available soon on and customers can sign up for an email alert to notify them of the product’s availability.

Throughout the contest, the winning inventors went the distance to market their participation. Humankind Water transformed its homepage into a “war room” completely dedicated to getting votes. PlateTopper deployed humorous videos and social marketing tactics to raise visibility, including a YouTube video, which has been viewed more than two million times. Nancy of Snapit even went to the NBC Today Show’s plaza in New York where her assistant dressed as a giant screw and was seen on national television with a sign asking for votes.

Get on the Shelf, a program from @WalmartLabs, launched in January of this year where contestants sent in videos of their latest inventions to be voted on by the public. In the first 24 hours of the contest voting, which began March 7, nearly 95 percent of the participants received a vote via Facebook or text. The top five product categories were home improvement, personalized products, health/wellness/fitness, fashion apparel/home and outdoor home.

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Published in Walmart

The Lemelson-MIT Program today announced Dr. Ashok Gadgil as the recipient of the 2012 $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation in recognition of his steady pursuit to blend research, invention, and humanitarianism for broad social impact. Gadgil is a chair professor of Safe Water and Sanitation at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, whose diverse inventions and sustainable innovations are helping those in the developing world to live healthier, safer lives.

Gadgil is a physicist by training whose unwavering curiosity and commitment to employ his expertise to benefit humankind has led to a string of inventions and innovations from safe drinking water solutions and a utility-sponsored energy efficiency program, to fuel-efficient stoves for displaced persons in Africa. He also works with stakeholders in beneficiary communities to rally support and increase adoption of his inventions. His innovative solutions, which integrate science with cultural needs, have helped an estimated 100 million individuals in dozens of countries across four continents.

UV Waterworks for Safe Drinking Water

Gadgil envisioned an affordable solution to disinfect drinking water in 1993 after more than 10,000 people in his home country of India died from Bengal Cholera. Gadgil designed UV Waterworks, an effective and inexpensive technology that utilizes ultraviolet light to kill deadly, disease-causing pathogens. The technology has been disseminated by WaterHealth International, Inc. (WHI) and is producing safe, clean drinking water at a price of just two cents per 10 liters. WHI’s water is affordable even to those making much less than two dollars per day.

WHI distributes the water through a pioneering public-private partnership, including a series of village-council owned clean-water centers that are built, operated and maintained by WHI. The village councils provide access to land and raw water. Maintenance, clean water education, quality control and optional home delivery are all funded through the sale of the water. The UV Waterworks technology and WHI have provided safe drinking water to approximately five million people in Ghana, India, Liberia, Nigeria and the Philippines to date, among many other countries, with plans for expansion to Bangladesh.

Berkeley-Darfur Stove to Increase Fuel Efficiency

In 2005 Gadgil approached an entirely different threat to survival – one in Darfur, a region of Western Sudan in a state of humanitarian emergency since 2003. The Berkeley-Darfur Stove, developed in partnership with nonprofit Potential Energy (formerly The Darfur Stoves Project) was born out of a request by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, to reduce the fuel demand of those in Darfur displacement camps. Eighty percent of these displaced individuals are female who often walk for up to seven hours, three to five times per week in search of firewood, making them vulnerable to assault each time they leave camp. Gadgil, his colleagues and students, and the women of Darfur designed the stove after several trips to the region.

First produced in partnership with CHF International and later Oxfam America, the Berkeley-Darfur Stove is assembled in North Darfur by trained benefactors. Women and girls - the primary beneficiaries - are invited to demonstrations by those currently using the stoves to learn how to use the device safely and efficiently. The stove sustainably increases the disposable income of the household by saving 55 percent of the fuel compared to traditional stoves, and saves more than three-hundred dollars per year. As of late 2011, more than 20,000 stoves have been disseminated, helping keep more than 125,000 women and their dependents safe. The stoves are now being modified for use in Ethiopia where 80 percent of households use firewood for cooking, yet the forest cover has decreased from 50 percent in 1950 to five percent in 2005.

“Ashok Gadgil’s long record of inventive solutions to problems in the developing world is an example of how passion coupled with creative problem solving can have a colossal impact,” states Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. “Dr. Gadgil truly encompasses what it means to be a global innovator.”

Inspiring Youth to Make an Impact on Mankind

Equally important to making a global impact for Gadgil is inspiring the next generation to innovate for social change. As a professor, Gadgil helps his students identify and pioneer solutions to important societal problems to ensure their research has maximum impact on the world. In Gadgil’s courses, students gain hands-on experience innovating solutions to improve the sustainability of resource-constrained communities, with the ultimate goal being real-world dissemination of the products and processes developed.

“Ashok is a teacher and mentor who has awakened and excited young, perceptive minds to the possibilities of using science to alleviate suffering and human impact on the environment,” said Richard Corsi, Gadgil’s colleague and a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “His substantial efforts to benefit those less fortunate inspire everyone around him to want to do more for mankind.”

The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates outstanding innovators and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.

Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history’s most prolific inventors, and his wife Dorothy founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering. The Foundation sparks, sustains and celebrates innovation and the inventive spirit. It supports projects in the U.S. and developing countries that nurture innovators and unleash invention to advance economic, social and environmentally sustainable development. To date The Lemelson Foundation has donated or committed more than U.S. $150 million in support of its mission.

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Published in Lemelson-MIT

Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) has named Israel-based clean technology company HydroSpin as Autodesk Inventor of the Month for April 2012. The company used Autodesk Inventor software and other Autodesk Digital Prototyping tools to develop a micro-generator solution that produces energy from the flow of water inside distribution pipes, saving hundreds of hours of development time and hundreds of thousands of development dollars.

The generators power a wide range of “smart water” devices that monitor the movement and quality of water, along with other parameters, throughout the distribution network. In turn, the devices transmit data that might indicate a leak or a broken pipe, helping to prevent waste of one of the world’s most precious resources.

“The demand for safe and clean water is growing exponentially. With the help of Autodesk design and simulation technology, we are creating a solution that enables water monitoring devices to be deployed in locations that do not have ready access to an electrical supply,” said Gabby Czertok, CEO of HydroSpin.

Simulating Performance Through Digital Prototyping

As a member of the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program — an initiative that provides Autodesk Digital Prototyping software to emerging and established clean tech companies — HydroSpin was able to access a variety of Autodesk tools that sped up the product development process, while local Autodesk reseller Omnitech provided training and support.

HydroSpin used Autodesk Inventor software to support the design of its generator — which is similar in appearance to a fan-like turbine — so that it fit precisely within the confines of the Israel national water company’s detailed specifications without disrupting the flow of water. This helped avoid the “head loss” that could cause customers to experience weak water pressure.

Using Autodesk Simulation CFD software, the design team was able to perform extensive stress tests and flow simulations on the generator to ensure that it could withstand the flow of water at a variety of pressures over an extended period of time.

The company reports that Autodesk Simulation CFD was able to provide insight on the long-term performance of its generator within a matter of hours — a process that otherwise would have required an actual generator to be placed inside of a pipe for hundreds of hours at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars.

“Clean technology companies like HydroSpin save significant time and money when they incorporate Digital Prototyping tools into their workflow. This kind of efficiency enables more resources to be dedicated toward innovations that can have a real impact and create a better world,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk.

Founded in 2010 and based in Israel, HydroSpin has developed a unique solution that incorporates in-pipe generators for generating electricity from the flow of water inside pipes and powering smart water monitoring and transmission devices.

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Published in Autodesk

Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK), a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, is teaming with “Everyday Edisons,” the Emmy and Telly award-winning TV series on American innovation, to supply its design software for the series showcasing product invention.

Season 4 of “Everyday Edisons” follows 11 modern inventors through the process of creating their latest inventions. The series goes behind the scenes in the product development process, from initial concept design to finished product manufacturing. The “Everyday Edisons” Design team helps to create each of the inventor’s products, showing viewers along the way what it takes to bring an idea to life for consumers. “Everyday Edisons” is distributed by American Public Television, which began feeding the series to nationwide public television stations on April 7.

“I am thrilled to work with this season’s inventors and help deliver their visions to the marketplace,” said Daniel Bizzell, senior vice president, Design, “Everyday Edisons.” “Autodesk Product Design Suite software provides me the speed and flexibility to make quick changes to products as they are developed, which is key as these concepts go through quite a few iterations before being finalized.”

Autodesk design, visualization and simulation technology helps save time and money by helping designers and manufacturers throughout the design process, so they can validate designs before they are built.

Specifically, the Autodesk Product Design Suite featuring Autodesk Inventor software helps drive innovation with integrated, discipline-specific tools and workflows built for Digital Prototyping.

”American inventors that turn great ideas into reality can be found in some truly unexpected places,” said Buzz Kross, senior vice president, Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk. “We’re thrilled to see our technology applied with ingenuity in the new season of ‘Everyday Edisons.’”

The ‘Everyday Edisons’ featured on Season 4 were selected from thousands to have their inventions developed by the “Everyday Edisons” team and turned into dynamic retail-ready products. Inventions featured on Season 4 of the show span a broad range of product categories, from medical solutions to household innovations and fitness devices.

“Everyday Edisons” premiered on PBS in 2007 to educate viewers about what it takes to transform an idea into a product sold on store shelves. “Everyday Edisons” features ordinary people as their original ideas are transformed into retail-ready products. The series’ name honors Thomas Edison, the famed American inventor, who with virtually no formal education, was able to secure more than 1,000 patents. “Everyday Edisons” is produced by Everyday Edisons, LLC. in Charlotte, N.C.

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Published in Autodesk

NASA and General Motors are jointly developing a robotic glove that astronauts and autoworkers can wear to help do their respective jobs better while potentially reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries.

The Human Grasp Assist device, known internally in both organizations as the K-glove or Robo-Glove, resulted from NASA and GM's Robonaut 2 – or R2 – project, which launched the first humanoid robot into space in 2011. R2 is a permanent resident of the International Space Station.

When engineers, researchers and scientists from GM and NASA began collaborating on R2 in 2007, one of the design requirements was for the robot to operate tools designed for humans, alongside astronauts in outer space and factory workers on Earth. The team achieved an unprecedented level of hand dexterity on R2 by using leading-edge sensors, actuators and tendons comparable to the nerves, muscles and tendons in a human hand.

Research shows that continuously gripping a tool can cause fatigue in hand muscles within a few minutes, but initial testing of the Robo-Glove indicates the wearer can hold a grip longer and more comfortably.

For example, an astronaut working in a pressurized suit outside the space station or an assembly operator in a factory might need to use 15 to 20 pounds of force to hold a tool during an operation but with the robotic glove they might need to apply only five to 10 pounds of force.

"The prototype glove offers my spacesuit team a promising opportunity to explore new ideas, and challenges our traditional thinking of what extravehicular activity hand dexterity could be," said Trish Petete, division chief, Crew and Thermal Systems Division, NASA's Johnson Space Center.

And there are promising applications on the ground, as well.

"When fully developed, the Robo-Glove has the potential to reduce the amount of force that an autoworker would need to exert when operating a tool for an extended time or with repetitive motions," said Dana Komin, GM's manufacturing engineering director, Global Automation Strategy and Execution. "In so doing, it is expected to reduce the risk of repetitive stress injury."

Inspired by the finger actuation system of R2, actuators are embedded into the upper portion of the glove to provide grasping support to human fingers. The pressure sensors, similar to the sensors that give R2 its sense of touch, are incorporated into the fingertips of the glove to detect when the user is grasping a tool. When the user grasps the tool, the synthetic tendons automatically retract, pulling the fingers into a gripping position and holding them there until the sensor is released.

NASA and GM have submitted 46 patent applications for R2, including 21 for R2's hand and four for the Robo-Glove alone.

The first prototype of the glove was completed in March 2011 with a second generation arriving three months later. The fabric for the glove was produced by Oceaneering Space Systems, the same company that provided R2's "skin."

The current prototypes weigh about 2 pounds and include the control electronics, actuators and a small display for programming and diagnostics. An off-the-shelf lithium-ion power-tool battery with a belt-clip is used to power the system. A third-generation prototype that will use repackaged components to reduce the size and weight of the system is nearing completion.

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Published in NASA

The Edison Awards, celebrating its 25th year, has announced its finalists for the internationally renowned 2012 Edison Best New Product Awards. Since 1987, The Edison Awards have recognized ideas at the forefront of new products, services, marketing, design and innovation. Winning an Edison Award has become one of the highest accolades a company can receive in the name of innovation and business.

"The Edison Awards provide an exclusive platform for honoring innovation, recognizing innovators, and encouraging ongoing innovation among today's development teams, researchers, designers, 'intrapreneurs' and entrepreneurs," says Thomas Stat, the 2012 Edison Awards Steering Committee Chairman. "We're inspired by our 2012 finalists and delighted to have this opportunity to recognize and promote the outstanding accomplishments they represent."

The awards are named after Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) whose extraordinary new product development methods and innovative achievements garnered him 1,093 U.S. patents and made him a household name around the world. The ballot of nominees for the Edison Best New Product Awards(TM) is judged by a panel of more than 3,000 individuals, including members of the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), an organization comprising America's top marketing professionals and academics. The panel also includes professionals from the fields of product development & design, engineering, science and education.

This year, the nominees were judged on a new set of evaluation criteria developed in partnership with Nielsen. These new criteria establish a new definition of innovation, leveraging the primary themes of Concept, Value, Impact and Delivery.

Winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Edison Awards will be announced April 26, 2012 at the Capitale in New York. The annual Edison Awards program encompasses multiple events over a two-day period including an Opening Reception, Meet the Innovators Forum, Innovator's Showcase and the Awards Gala, where the Awards will be presented.

The 2012 Edison Awards are sponsored by Nielsen, Discovery Communications, Science Channel, USA Today, CSRware and Applepeak.

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Published in Edison Awards

In celebration of its mission to recognize and foster invention, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has announced its 2012 Inductees.  The inventors to be honored this year created remarkable innovations that include the now ubiquitous laser printer commonly found in the workplace, the thin-film head technology that has contributed to the success of the disk drive industry, and the first statin which pioneered the class of drugs targeted at lowering cholesterol.

This year's Induction ceremony, sponsored in part by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, will take place on May 2 at the historic Patent Office Building, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, in Washington, D.C.  At that time, the 2012 Inductees will be recognized for work such as the carbon dioxide laser which is widely used across diverse fields, the design of computer programming languages, and solar thermal storage innovations.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame 2012 Inductees are:

Akira Endo Mevastatin, the first statin – Endo discovered mevastatin, the first statin, pioneering research into a new class of molecules that are now a hugely successful class of drugs targeting the lowering of cholesterol.  His work was done at Sankyo Company in Japan, and he is currently Director of Biopharm Research Laboratories and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.

Barbara Liskov Programming languages and system design – MIT Institute Professor Liskov is considered an innovator in the design of computer programming languages, largely for helping to make computer programs more reliable, secure, and easy to use.  Her innovations can be found within almost all modern programming languages.  

C. Kumar N. Patel Carbon dioxide laser – Patel invented the CO2 laser while at Bell Labs.  Since ushering in the use of high power laser applications, the CO2 laser has become common and versatile with uses in the medical, industrial, and military arenas.  Patel founded his own company, Pranalytica, to manufacture mid-infrared quantum cascade laser systems and gas sensing instruments. He is also a professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA.

Lubomyr Romankiw, David Thompson Thin-film magnetic head – IBM researchers Romankiw and Thompson invented the first practical magnetic thin-film storage heads.  Thin-film technology increased the density of data that could be stored on magnetic disks, even while the disk size was being substantially reduced, dramatically reducing the cost of data storage.

Gary Starkweather Laser printer – Starkweather's laser printer, invented at the Xerox PARC facility, was the first to print any images that could be created on a computer; a laser beam carried digital information, and the copier then developed the imaged digital information to make a print.  The laser printer would go on to become one of Xerox's best selling products of all time.

Alejandro Zaffaroni Controlled drug delivery systems – Biotechnology innovator Zaffaroni conducted early work in controlled drug delivery methods, particularly early concepts for transdermal patches, which led to the growth of research in innovative drug delivery systems.  He has founded numerous biotech companies throughout his career.

Dennis Gabor (1900-1979) Electron holography – Gabor is best known for his research in electron optics which led to the invention of holography.  Because of his efforts and also the efforts of researchers after him, holography has seen numerous modern day applications.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011) Technology – Co-founder of both Apple and Pixar, Jobs was named on over 300 patents and is credited with revolutionizing entire industries, including personal computing, mobile phones, animated movies, digital publishing and retailing.

Maria Telkes (1900-1995) Solar thermal storage systems – Telkes was a highly respected innovator and a foremost authority in the field of solar energy, widely publishing and inventing on the topic throughout her career.  Ultimately Professor Emeritus at the University of Delaware, Telkes also spent time at MIT, NYU, and in industry.

"This year's class of Inductees demonstrates the importance of innovation," said Edward Gray, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  "The applications and widespread use of their inventions show us how vital ingenuity is to not just the well-being of the United States, but also the rest of the world."

The National Inventors Hall of Fame annually accepts nominations for men and women whose work has changed society and improved the quality of life.  The candidate's invention must be covered by a United States patent, and the work must have had a major impact on society, the public welfare, and the progress of science and the useful arts.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame is the premier non-profit organization in America dedicated to honoring legendary inventors whose innovations and entrepreneurial endeavors have changed the world.  Founded in 1973 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the Hall of Fame will have 470 Inductees with its 2012 Induction.  The National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum is located in the atrium of the Madison Building on the campus of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA.  Hall of Fame hours are Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday from Noon to 5 PM (closed Sundays and federal holidays).  Admission is free.

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The latest deserving idea to receive the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award, is a Braille labeler by Silicon Valley-based innovation laboratory 6dot. The labeler aims to solve a persistent challenge among the 37 million people around the world without sight: identifying everyday objects. To a blind person, navigating familiar environments can be a tremendous obstacle, as objects such as cans of food (is it chicken soup or dog food?) and medicine containers can feel indistinguishable from each other. 6dot’s labeler uses an embossing mechanism to create adhesive labels with Braille characters to help people without sight maneuver more easily in their environments.

The portable, elegant design of the 6dot Braille Labeler has made it popular with testers and users alike. 6dot hopes that beyond helping people without sight navigate everyday environments, the device will also have an impact on improving the Braille literacy rate. Braille literacy rates, currently hovering at an all-time low of around 20 percent, are linked to high rates of unemployment. The intuitive, lightweight design of the labeler opens the door for children to learn Braille at a younger age by giving them a tool they can manage. Early Braille literacy has a positive correlation to employment among the blind and visually impaired later in life.

“We were inspired by the potential and simplicity of 6dot’s product,” said Proto Labs founder and CTO Larry Lukis. “Not only does it break down access barriers to Braille education, but it also helps millions of people without sight get around with greater ease and convenience. We were eager to offer our injection-molding services to a cool product idea with an even cooler vision behind it.”

“We’d heard good things about Proto Labs through the Silicon Valley hardware development community, so we knew we’d found a good fit when we discovered the Proto Labs’ Cool Idea! program,” said 6dot CEO and founder Karina Pikart. “We believe in using engineering and design to stamp out limitations that don’t need to be there in the first place. Our labeler, through the help of the Cool Idea! program, has the potential to help millions of people learn Braille sooner and navigate everyday life more easily.”

Cool Idea! Award is an award program offered by Proto Labs that gives product designers the opportunity to bring innovative products to life. In 2012, Proto Labs expanded the program’s reach to include the European Union, and is now offering up to $250,000 of prototyping and short-run production services.

For more information, visit:

Published in Proto Labs

NineSigma, the leading innovation partner to organizations worldwide, today announced that it recently helped LAUNCH to identify and select ten entrepreneurial organizations whose breakthrough technologies will potentially transform how energy is delivered to developed and developing countries around the globe.

LAUNCH, a joint initiative of NASA, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of State, and NIKE, works to address large, sustainability-related challenges that no single government or commercial entity can solve alone. NineSigma has a unique approach to Open Innovation (OI) that enables solution seekers, like LAUNCH, to find solutions and partners beyond their industry, technical discipline and existing networks.

LAUNCH chose NineSigma to help with its LAUNCH: Energy Challenge, entitled Innovative Energy Technologies and Deployment Models for Sustainable Development, focused on finding solutions for transforming the generation and delivery of electricity. NineSigma’s proprietary process helps organizations define and focus complex problems and connect them with innovative solution providers through its open, global network. Using its core expertise, NineSigma helped NASA, USAID, the US Department of State, and NIKE draft an effective Need Statement, and distributed a Technology Brief to a broad spectrum of energy innovators, including companies, inventors and nonprofit organizations. Within just three months, NineSigma helped LAUNCH identify and review over 160 game-changing solutions.

“As the world’s population reaches record levels, and demands on the environment increase, the need for sustainable energy sources has never been more urgent. NineSigma shares this sense of urgency, and has the scientific acumen and large global network to streamline the process of finding solutions. NineSigma was integral to our process of identifying transformative technologies, and we are now beginning the important work of accelerating them forward into the world,” said Victor Friedberg, LAUNCH’s Executive Director.

“As citizens of the world, we are committed to using open innovation to tackle the problems that affect us all. The transformation of the world’s energy system is a challenge that is close to our hearts. We were pleased to work with LAUNCH to find many new technologically based solutions that hold tremendous promise,” said Andy Zynga, CEO of NineSigma.

NineSigma engages organizations with external innovation resources and enables them to share knowledge to accelerate the innovation cycle, whether they are in the private, public, or social sectors. Their proprietary and collaborative process has produced billions of dollars in tangible value. Companies such as Kraft, Philips, L’Oreal, Unilever, Denso and Suntory utilize NineSigma’s Open Innovation services to solve immediate challenges, fill product pipelines, integrate new knowledge into their organizations, close development gaps, and improve financial performance. NineSigma has the largest open global network of solution providers and an extensive database of existing solutions that spans all industries and technical disciplines. Our team integrates professionals from a variety of fields, including business leaders, innovation consultants and Ph.D.-level scientists.

LAUNCH is a global initiative to identify and support the innovative work poised to contribute to a sustainable future and accelerate solutions to meet urgent challenges facing our society. NASA, USAID, Department of State, and NIKE joined together to form LAUNCH in an effort to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to global challenges through a series of forums. LAUNCH searches for visionaries, whose world-class ideas, technologies or programs show great promise for making tangible impacts on society.

For a full list of the innovators and their solutions, visit:

Published in NineSigma

Clean technology innovator Hydrovolts is using software from Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) to create unique hydrokinetic turbines that are more easily installed in rivers, canals and other waterways for faster generation of renewable energy. The company’s smaller turbines can be quickly installed and generating power in less than an hour.

Digital Prototyping Streamlines Product Development

As a member of the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program — which provides software to established and emerging clean tech companies in North America, Europe, Japan and Singapore — Hydrovolts gained access to a variety of Digital Prototyping tools to help develop and optimize its turbines.

“Autodesk Inventor software and Autodesk Inventor Fusion software are invaluable tools for helping us digitally visualize and then revise our designs,” said Burt Hamner, CEO of Hydrovolts. “And by using the Eco Materials Adviser within Inventor, we can weigh all ecological impact together with performance and financial impacts of materials for our turbines. Autodesk technology is simply more efficient than anything we’ve tried.”

Using Inventor and Inventor Fusion on a recent project for the Bureau of Reclamation, a federal government agency, enabled Hydrovolts to quickly and accurately model a turbine for the proposed installation site, and then make appropriate changes to the prototype design in less than a week. Meanwhile, Autodesk Vault software provided complete document control, ensuring every iteration was recorded and traceable.

“Digital Prototyping can save time and money at every step of the product lifecycle,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, design, lifecycle and simulation, at Autodesk. “By using a single digital model, clean tech companies like Hydrovolts are able to develop their products more efficiently and deliver the innovative energy solutions that the marketplace is demanding.”

Smart Design Makes Turbines Easy to Use

Much of the speed of installation is due to the highly efficient design of the Hydrovolts turbines. All of the different classes of turbine have been engineered for easy “drop-in” installation — eliminating the need for dams or other permanent constructions. The turbines are held in place by mooring lines, while an output cable plugs directly into the power load onshore.

In addition, the Hydrovolts turbines are specifically engineered to easily accommodate different types of rotor blades for optimal efficiency in the existing current. This adaptability enables users to select the blade that can deliver the most power for the least cost, based on a waterway’s unique flow.

For more information, visit: or

Published in Autodesk

University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate innovators will present 14 inventions on Feb. 9-10 in Engineering Hall on the College of Engineering campus as part of the annual Innovation Days.

The inventors will present their ideas and demonstrate prototypes in hopes of earning a share of more than $27,000 in prizes in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity and Tong Prototype Prize competitions. Designed to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in students and give them experience with prototype building and intellectual property, the contest awards teams whose ideas and inventions are judged the most innovative and likely to succeed in the marketplace. In addition, awards are given for the best ideas notebook and best presentation.

All prototypes will be on display during the presentations and judging Thursday, Feb. 9, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Many prototypes will be on display during the presentations on Friday, Feb. 10, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Winners will be announced Feb. 10 at 1:30 p.m. in 1610 Engineering Hall.

UW-Madison students can receive a door-prize ticket for each presentation they attend. The prizes, including electronics and computing equipment, will be distributed in a drawing after the awards ceremony.

UW-Madison chemical engineering alumnus Richard J. Schoofs (BS '53) sponsors the Schoofs Prize for Creativity; the Tong Family Foundation, including electrical and computer engineering alumnus Peter P. Tong (MS '65), sponsors the Tong Prototype Prize and grants.

Engineering Hall is located at 1415 Engineering Drive. Visitors can park for a fee in Lot 17, the parking ramp on Engineering Drive near Camp Randall Stadium.

The timetable for student presentations follows:

Thursday, Feb. 9

8:45-9 a.m. - Opening remarks from Dean Paul Peercy and competition director Alicia Jackson
9:15-9:30 a.m. - Letzgo (Sean Kelly)
9:35-9:50 a.m. - Mobile Phone Payment System (Michael Starr)
9:55-10:10 a.m. - The DualX Fracture Fixation System (Tom Gerold and Marc Egeland)
10:15-10:30 a.m. - Prototype Judging
10:40-10:55 a.m. - TapTop Double Tablet Laptop (Michael Szewczyk)
11-11:15 a.m. - Rotoar Handle (Kevin Ripley & Brandon Kryger)
11:20-11:35 a.m. - NoVo Luggage (Scott Johanek)
11:40-11:55 p.m. - Prototype Judging
12-12:45 p.m. - Lunch
1-1:15 p.m. - Liico Brand Collapsible Mug (John McGuire)
1:20-1:35 p.m. - Liquid Cooled Replaceable LED Light Bulb (Stefan Jedlicka)
1:40-1:55 p.m. - Passive Interrupted RFID (Scott Hatfield)
2-2:15 p.m. - Clean Coal (Justin Vannieuwenhoven)
2:30-3:30 p.m. - Prototype judging

Friday, Feb. 10

9 a.m. - Remarks from competition director Alicia Jackson
9:05-9:20 a.m. - Javi (Matthew Kirk)
9:25-9:40 a.m. - Manu Print (Eric Ronning)
9:45-10 a.m. - Library Counting and Study Friend Finding System (Junzhe Wang)
10:05-10:20 a.m. - PureWater Trike Converter (John Boland and Joshua Gilberts)
10:30 a.m.-noon - Break for judges' deliberation
1:30 p.m. - Awards ceremony/door prizes

For more information, visit:

Media Corp has become the official sponsor of the ICKC National inventors contest held in Kansas City. The ICKC contest was created by the Ewing Kauffman Foundation and is a nonprofit organization with over 1,000 members. Media Corp will offer a $20,000 testing package to the winner of the contest.

The ICKC National Invention Contest is looking for inventors to submit their inventions for a chance to win a commercial produced for Direct Response television (DR-TV). The complete package which includes a TV spot to be aired in select markets for product testing is a prize worth $20,000. If successful, the winners invention would generate thousands of dollars in royalties for the inventor.

Ed Waldberg, President of Media Corp. says "We are pleased to be the primary sponsor of the ICKC National Invention Contest. This contest provides inventors of all types to have a chance to win a DR-TV spot that could literally change their lives if the product is a success. DR-TV is still the best and quickest way to get your product to market. In our industry the right product and speed to market is the key to success."

Typically an inventor will spend in excess of $10,000 to produce and air a commercial. "Going it alone is expensive and time consuming. The ICKC National Invention Contest is an opportunity like none other," says Carrie Jeske, Marketing Director for the Inventors Club of Kansas City. When inventors submit products to the ICKC National Invention Contest they should consider the seven most important criteria for DR-TV product success:

1. Does your product have a unique selling advantage? In other words how does your product stand apart and does it have a "wow" factor?
2. Problem/Solution/Benefit Orientation. The bigger or more common the problem solved?the more the product sells!
3. Does your product appeal to the masses? TV reaches a very broad demographic, if your product appeals to the masses you have a winner.
4. Product Pricing. Typically products under $100 are considered good short-form DRTV items.
5. How demonstrable is your product? The better the visual demonstration of the product the greater the chance for success.
6. Is your product believable? Will people believe your product will work?
7. Is your product easily explained? Consumers must be able to understand what the product does in a relatively short amount of time.

If you have an invention and you think that it meets the seven criteria to make a DR-TV winner then submit your product today at:

Published in Media Corp

Working under the open sky – it sounds enticing, but it’s seldom really a practical option. Now, a dynamic luminous ceiling brings the sky into office spaces by creating the effect of passing clouds. This kind of lighting generates a pleasant working environment.

As the wind swiftly blows clouds across the sky, the light is in a constant state of change. The feeling of spaciousness and freedom we experience outdoors is exactly what researchers from the Stuttgart-based Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO replicate indoors: a luminous ceiling that extends across the entire room simulates lighting conditions which resemble those produced by passing clouds – conveying the impression that you are sitting outdoors.

The innovative luminous ceiling, which was developed by the Fraunhofer researchers in close collaboration with their partners at LEiDs GmbH, consists of 50cm by 50cm tiles. “Each tile comprises an LED board with 288 light emitting diodes (LEDs),” states Dr. Matthias Bues, head of department at the IAO. “The board is mounted on the ceiling. A diffuser film in matt white is attached approximately 30cm beneath the LEDs and ensures that the individual points of light are not perceived as such. This diffuser film creates homogenous lighting that illuminates the room throughout.” The researchers use a combination of red, blue, green and white LEDs in order to produce the full light spectrum. This combination makes it possible to generate more than 16 million hues. What’s more, the white LEDs are more energy efficient than the colored lights, which keeps the energy costs to a minimum.

The main focus in developing the virtual sky was to simulate natural lighting conditions on a cloudy day. To achieve this goal, the researchers carefully examined natural light to find out how – and how quickly – the light spectrum changes when clouds move across the sky. “The LEDs allow us to simulate these dynamic changes in lighting in a way that is not directly obvious to the naked eye. Otherwise the lighting might distract people from their work. But it does need to fluctuate enough to promote concentration and heighten alertness,” says Bues. The results of a preliminary study indicate that users find this dynamic lighting to be extremely pleasant. The study involved ten volunteers who carried out their daily work over the course of four days under these lighting conditions with a lighting surface of 30cm by 60cm. Throughout the first day, the lighting remained static. On the second day, it fluctuated gently, and on the third day the fluctuations were rapid. On the fourth day, the participants could choose which type of lighting they wanted, and 80 percent opted for the fast, dynamic lighting.

A prototype of this virtual sky has now been developed that contains a total of 34,560 LEDs spanning an area of 34 square meters. At full power, the “sky” lights up with an intensity of more than 3,000 lux, but 500 to 1,000 lux is sufficient to create a comfortable level of lighting.

From March 6 -10, 2012 at the CeBIT trade fair in Hannover, the researchers will be exhibiting a 2.8m by 2.8m virtual sky at the joint Fraunhofer booth in Hall 9, Booth E 02. Initial inquiries regarding the new lighting have already come in, mainly for use in conference rooms. The virtual sky currently costs approximately 1,000 euros per square meter, but this price will come down, since the more units are produced, the more cost-effective each luminous ceiling will be.

For more information, visit: or

Published in Fraunhofer

InventHelp’s Invention & New Product Exposition (INPEX) is pleased to announce the dates for the 27th annual INPEX® Show, June 13-15, 2012. INPEX®, America’s largest Invention Trade Show, features inventors from the United States as well as more than 20 countries. The show will be held at the Monroeville Convention Center, just fifteen minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.

InventHelp’s INPEX® is a unique trade show that showcases numerous inventions, new products and innovations that are available to license, market or manufacture. This trade show brings inventors together with industry representatives in one convenient networking forum. INPEX® will again present the INPEX® Inventor’s University™, a series of seminars, presentations and panel discussions on topics like prototyping, patenting and manufacturing. The show will also feature private product searches, where inventors can present ideas to large, well-known companies who are looking for new products to add to their existing lines, as well as provide feedback to the inventors about their products.

“We are very excited to have set the dates for our 27th annual show,” said Nicole Hait, trade show director. “This past year, hundreds of companies utilized INPEX® as a venue to look for new and innovative products to add to their existing product lines. Corporate America has never been more interested in inventions.”

For more information, visit:

Published in INPEX

The engineering profession's highest honors for 2012, presented by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), recognize ground-breaking contributions to the development of the modern liquid crystal display and achievements that led to a curriculum that encourages engineering leadership. The awards, announced today, will be presented at a gala dinner event in Washington, DC on February 21, 2012.

T. Peter Brody, George H. Heilmeier, Wolfgang Helfrich, and Martin Schadt will receive the Charles Stark Draper Prize — a $500,000 annual award that honors engineers whose accomplishments have significantly benefited society — "for the engineering development of the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) that is utilized in billions of consumer and professional devices."

Clive L. Dym, M. Mack Gilkeson, and J. Richard Phillips will receive the Bernard M. Gordon Prize — a $500,000 award issued annually that recognizes innovation in engineering and technology education — "for creating and disseminating innovations in undergraduate engineering design education to develop engineering leaders." Half of each Gordon prize is awarded to the winner's institution to support the continued development, refinement, and dissemination of the recognized innovation.

"The engineers we are honoring have created windows through which people are learning about and shaping our world," said NAE President Charles M. Vest. "The LCD is the human interface with much of today's technology and information. Harvey Mudd College's innovative teaching program is showing future leaders how to use engineering skills for the benefit of humankind."

The Charles Stark Draper Prize

The Liquid crystal display (LCDs) is used by virtually everyone in the modern world on a daily basis. It is the medium through which people get information from a variety of everyday devices – including calculators, clocks, computer monitors, smart phones, and television screens. T. Peter Brody, George H. Heilmeier, Wolfgang Helfrich, and Martin Schadt each made substantial contributions to its development.

George Heilmeier discovered the dynamic scattering mode (DSM), which resulted in the first operational LCD. Liquid crystals are materials that have properties of both liquids and crystals. DSM allows them to scatter light when a voltage is applied. Shortly after Heilmeier's discovery, DSM LCDs could be widely found in watches and calculators.

Taking cues from Heilmeier's work, Wolfgang Helfrich and Martin Schadt invented the twisted nematic (TN) field effect of liquid crystal displays. Unlike the DSM, the twisted nematic field effect electrically controls the polarization state of transmitted light of LCDs. It requires virtually no power and small electric fields. The contrast of light is very large, allowing short switching from dark to bright and vice versa. Helfrich and Schadt's discovery of the TN allowed for the practical use of LCDs in nearly all of today's flat panel LCD applications.

T. Peter Brody created the active matrix (AM) drive, which enabled an array of new capabilities for LCDs. Such capabilities consist of the display of high resolution motion pictures combined with fast response which are prerequisites for television. Brody's AM LCD opened the door for further LCD advancements in television, including color filters and brightness-enhancement films.

T. Peter Brody worked at Westinghouse, where he discovered the first active matrix displays. He later started his own firm, Panelvision, and then went on to become the president and CEO of Amedeo. In addition to his contributions to LCD technology, his numerous patents include a low-cost color filter process and a high-resolution printing process. Brody is also the co-founder of the Advantech in-line fabrication process, designed to create backplanes for the next generation of OLED displays. Brody passed away in September 2011; the award will be presented to his family.

George Heilmeier joined RCA in 1958 where he discovered the dynamic scattering- and a guest-host electro-optical effect in liquid crystals. After serving as a White House fellow at the U.S. Department of Defense, he was appointed Assistant Director for Defense Research and Engineering, Electronic and Physical Sciences. From 1974 to 1977, Heilmeier was the director of the Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA). He then became senior vice president and chief technical officer at Texas Instruments. Heilmeier later served as the president and CEO of Bellcore, and eventually as chairman and chairman emeritus.

Wolfgang Helfrich, while at RCA, set up a theory of conduction-induced alignment of nematic liquid crystals as a first step towards a theory of dynamic scattering. In 1970 he joined Hoffmann-LaRoche where he and Martin Schadt began their cooperation. Afterwards he accepted a professorship at the Free University of Berlin. Since then his theoretical and experimental research centered on fluid bilayer membranes and their vesicles. .

Martin Schadt patented the first organic light emitting display (OLED) in 1969 as a post doc fellow at Canada's National Research Council. He then joined the Laboratoire Suisse de Recherche Horlogère at Neuchâtel of Omega. Two years later he became a member of the newly founded research group at the Central Research Center of Hoffmann-La Roche working on liquid crystal field-effects and LC-materials. He was appointed head of the liquid crystal department inventing many new electro-optical effects, commercial liquid crystal materials and the photo-polymer liquid crystal alignment technology. From 1994 he headed the spin-off company Rolic Ltd. as its CEO. He is active as a scientific adviser to governments and industrial research groups.

The Bernard M. Gordon Prize

The Harvey Mudd College Engineering program combines hands-on, experience-based learning, exemplified by its innovative Engineering Clinic, with formal design instruction in an approach aimed at creating engineering leaders. The Engineering program, which also strongly emphasizes writing and presentations, continues to be innovative and has had a profound influence on other institutions and their curriculum. The College's curriculum also includes the opportunity to teach K-12 students and a leadership strategy course in which students meet highly successful businesspeople.

Clive L. Dym created the program's formal design instruction and contributed to a hands-on studio component for the freshman projects class. Dym also advocated the integration of the design and making of tools and prototypes into that class. This helped students learn about manufacturing and design and how to communicate about their work. Dym is the driving force behind the Mudd Design Workshops, which bring together a wide range of institutions to discuss engineering education and their shared experiences. Dym is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Engineering Design and director of the Center for Design Education at Harvey Mudd College.

M. Mack Gilkeson is the co-inventor and co-founder of the Clinic program, a hands-on approach to teaching engineering in which small teams of students are given real-life design problems to solve from industry partners. The program was controversial at its outset because this approach defied conventional wisdom and went very much counter to the then-prevailing thinking about engineering curricula. Thus, while the Clinic program initially faced concerns, even some internally, Gilkeson and his colleagues proved it could work and it became a model for many other institutions. Gilkeson is Professor of Engineering Emeritus at Harvey Mudd College.

J. Richard Phillips was the Engineering Clinic director for 17 years and transitioned the Clinic into a sustainable program that is now integral to the overall Harvey Mudd Engineering curriculum. He also was directly involved in the establishment of Clinic programs in other colleges and universities. The program has now extended to other departments in the college, influencing fields outside of engineering as well. Phillips also was instrumental in the development of the Experimental Engineering Lab to give students a deeper and more intuitive grasp of concepts they learn in their theory classes. Phillips is Professor of Engineering Emeritus at Harvey Mudd College.

For more information, visit:

Published in NAE

OMAX Corporation, a world leader in abrasivejet machining, recently served as one of the highly influential guest judges at Georgia Institute of Technology’s latest Capstone Design Expo, a culmination of 40 mechanical and biomedical student projects from the school’s mechanical engineering senior design course.

“The Capstone Design Expo is a great opportunity for student teams to showcase the hard work and creativity they’ve put into their semester-long projects for outside sponsors,” said Craig Forest, assistant professor at Georgia Tech in the GW Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. “As part of the expo, the school uses an esteemed group of judges to help select the three most innovative, useful and market-worthy projects.”

Each team consisted of four to five students who worked together to define their project, perform research, develop a design and then fabricate, test and refine their prototypes—all under the tutelage of faculty and external sponsors or mentors. In the past, student teams have worked on commercial projects for Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola.

The students created their project prototypes in the Woodruff School’s Invention Studio, a facility that invites all Georgia Tech students and faculty to come in and develop their own inventions using advanced machine tools and electronics equipment, including an OMAX 2626 JetMachining Center. The Invention Studio is free for them to use and open 24 hours a day.

Steve Brown, director of government educational solutions for OMAX, was one of the 40 expo judges. He and representatives from Shell Oil, Metronix, Inc., Emory University and several other organizations were tasked with determining how well the student teams applied prototyping and analysis to solve real-world problems.

A new type of sternal retractor, a device that cuts through the human sternum and cranks open the rib cage, was named one of the winning projects for its ability to eliminate blood loss and avoid rib cracking—common problems of current designs. First, second and third-place winners received a cash prize of $500, $300 and $200, respectively.

Brown has been involved with Georgia Tech since 2009 when the university, per the request of Professor Forest, purchased the OMAX 2626 for the Invention Studio.

“We graduate approximately 400 mechanical engineers per year, and all of them have utilized the OMAX waterjet machine,” said Forest. “It is the workhorse of our Invention Studio, and I absolutely love it. Students enjoy the fact that it is so easy to use. In fact, most of the prototypes presented at our recent Capstone Design Expo were made using the OMAX 2626.”

Forest became familiar with the OMAX brand of abrasivejet machines while attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to earn his Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees. “We had several OMAX machines at MIT, and I used all of them. I find they are the best waterjets on the market.”

According to Brown, several other universities across the nation utilize OMAX machines as part of their curriculum, including Harvard, Princeton, University of California at Berkeley and Florida State.

For more information, visit: or

Published in OMAX

The latest recipient of the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award, SkyLight, aims to make a big impact on global healthcare and science education. Proto Labs – the leading online and technology-enabled manufacturer of quick-turn prototype and short-run parts – provided their services to help co-founders, Andy Miller and Tess Bakke, launch their product internationally.

SkyLight is a device that connects any smartphone to any microscope. This universal plastic mount allows older microscopes to be upgraded to the digital age, and can help transform global healthcare, telemedicine, science education and research capabilities. The device enables scientists, doctors, teachers and students to use technology already at their disposal in new ways. Using the SkyLight, people around the world are able to share images and videos via their smartphone. Skype or FaceTime can also be used to collaborate in real-time, by enabling images from the microscope to be clearly transmitted to others via the smartphone. With the help of the SkyLight, a healthcare worker in a third world country can capture and send diagnostic images to a trained expert able to make a vital diagnosis. As a Cool Idea! Award recipient, Proto Labs provided SkyLight with CNC machining for prototyping, followed by injection molding tooling and the accompanying plastic parts.

“SkyLight offers users in a variety of fields the ability to digitally capture and share scientific discoveries that may otherwise not be seen and explored by others. This allows the advancement of not only science, but research, education and even hobbyist photographers,” said Proto Labs founder and CTO Larry Lukis. “An intuitive product that is designed to further enhance healthcare, telemedicine and science education on a global level is exactly the type of innovative thinking we want to recognize with the Cool Idea! Award.”

“The SkyLight connects new technology to old, allowing scientific images to be captured and securely transmitted to anyone of any age,” said SkyLight co-founder Andy Miller. “This award is especially exciting for us because Proto Labs helps to keep the total production cost minimal enough for this to be used as an educational resource throughout the world.”

SkyLight has received critical support on Kickstarter, to date receiving more than $18,000 in pledges from more than 200 backers in the community to aid in the product’s manufacturing, packaging and distribution. Pre-orders are available through SkyLight’s Kickstarter page until January 2. For every five SkyLights purchased, one will be donated for global health or educational purposes.

Cool Idea! Award is an award program offered by Proto Labs that gives product designers the opportunity to bring innovative products to life. During 2011, Proto Labs provided an aggregate of up to $100,000 worth of prototyping and short-run production services to award recipients. The program will be continuing throughout 2012.

For more information, visit:

Published in Proto Labs

In the early 1880s, three inventors—Alexander Graham Bell, Chichester Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter, collectively making up the Volta Laboratory Associates—brought together their creativity and expertise in a laboratory on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C., to record sound. In one experiment, Nov. 17, 1884, they recorded the word “barometer” on a glass disc with a beam of light. This disc and about 200 other experimental recordings from their laboratory were packed up for safekeeping, given to the Smithsonian and, with a few exceptions, never played again.

In 2011, scholars from three institutions—National Museum of American History Curators Carlene Stephens and Shari Stout, Library of Congress Digital Conversion Specialist Peter Alyea and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Scientists Carl Haber and Earl Cornell—came together in a newly designed preservation laboratory at the Library of Congress to recover sound from those recordings made more than 100 years ago. Using high-resolution digital scans made from the original Volta discs, they were able to hear the word “barometer.”

The museum’s collection has about 400 of the earliest audio recordings ever made, including the 200 from Bell’s Volta lab. A reflection of the intense competition between Bell, Thomas Edison and Emile Berliner for patents following the invention of the phonograph by Edison in 1877, these recordings, along with supporting documents, were offered to the Smithsonian by each inventor in his lifetime.

“These recordings were made using a variety of methods and materials such as rubber, beeswax, glass, tin foil and brass, as the inventors tried to find a material that would hold sound,” said Stephens. “We don’t know what is recorded, except for a few cryptic inscriptions on some of the discs and cylinders or vague notes on old catalog cards written by a Smithsonian curator decades ago.”

Now, through a collaborative project with the Library of Congress and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the mystery of what is on these recordings is being unraveled. To date, the team has successfully submitted six discs—all experimental recordings made by the Volta Laboratory Associates between 1881 and 1885—to the sound recovery process.

The recordings in the museum’s collection are in fragile condition due to their age and experimental nature. Until now, the technology to listen to the recordings without damaging the discs and cylinders was not available. The noninvasive optical technique used in this project to scan and recover sounds was first studied by Berkeley Lab in 2002–2004 and installed at the Library of Congress in 2006 and 2009. The process creates a high-resolution digital map of the disc or cylinder. This map is then processed to remove evidence of wear or damage (e.g., scratches and skips). Finally, software calculates the motion of a stylus moving through the disc or cylinder’s grooves, reproducing the audio content and producing a standard digital sound file.

Recovering sound from the six Volta discs is the first step in an ongoing project to preserve and catalog the museum’s early recording collection and to provide increased access to the collection and its contents for both the academic community and the public. The content of the recordings, studied in conjunction with the innovative nature of the physical discs and cylinders, provides insight into a variety of topics—from the invention process of these well-known 19th-century labs to speech patterns of the late 19th century.

This project has been made possible with funding from a variety of sources. The National Museum of American History received a special preservation grant from the Grammy Foundation and support from the museum’s Jackson Fund. The museum is looking for additional funding to continue the examination of other recordings in its exceptional collection. The Institute of Museum and Library Services provided funding to Berkeley Lab through a grant to further develop the optical scanning technology and bring it into use in support of collections and special projects around the world.

For more information, visit:

Published in Smithsonian

As Seen On TV, Inc., the parent company of TVGoods, Inc., held a Pitch Tank event in Tampa, FL over the weekend of December 10th and 11th.

Pitch Tank is marketed to entrepreneurs and inventors as a platform to introduce and demonstrate businesses and/or products to the As Seen On TV, Inc. team, including Kevin Harrington. The event includes real training from Kevin Harrington on how to take your business or product from an idea to reality, including information on development and marketing. Covered topics include mass marketing, branding, intellectual property, manufacturing, ecommerce, web design, and all the latest marketing trends and strategies. Distribution channel strategy is also a key area of focus, including television shopping channels, infomercials and the Internet.

In addition to assisting and training the participants, the As Seen On TV, Inc. team was exposed to several businesses and products that it will continue to evaluate and monitor, with the hopes of partnering in the future. The company looks forward to hosting its next Pitch Tank event in a different city within the next 90 days.

"Pitch Tank has already turned into a profitable department for As Seen On TV, Inc. The company is able to use its expertise to be able to monetize the thousands of inventor submissions we get annually," said Steve Rogai, CEO of As Seen On TV, Inc.

"Last weekend's Pitch Tank event surpassed our expectations. It was successful for both the entrepreneurs and inventors in attendance and our company. There are tons of amazing people in this world, people with a lot of talent, skill and great ideas. Unfortunately, many of these amazing people struggle because they have no direction. I get approached daily from people with great ideas, and many have done a lot of work on those ideas. People show me prototypes, market research data and some have even begun selling their products or ideas. Every one of these people have a few pieces of the puzzle, but the one thing that they are all lacking is knowledge on how to complete the puzzle; and Pitch Tank gives them that knowledge," said Kevin Harrington, Chairman of As Seen On TV, Inc.

As Seen On TV, Inc. is the parent company of TVGoods, Inc., a direct response marketing company. We identify, develop and market consumer products for global distribution via TV, Internet and retail channels. TVGoods was established by Kevin Harrington, a pioneer of direct response television.

Published in As Seen On TV

The World Future Society, a nonprofit scientific and educational organization, has issued a call for inventions, innovations, and breakthrough startups to showcase in the second annual Futurists: BetaLaunch expo in Toronto next July. Futurists: BetaLaunch (or F:BL) serves as a technology petting zoo where engineers, designers and others can present their inventions to the 1,000 futurists expected to gather for the Society's annual conference.

The inaugural F:BL event in 2011, co-produced with 1x57 and sponsored by Disruptathon, was a huge success. "Futurists presented Bold Visions at the BetaLaunch expo in Vancouver," said Eric Mack of BYTE magazine, published by Information Week. The conference was also covered in the Vancouver Sun and by CBC Canada, MarketWatch, and Xinhua News, the largest news agency in the People's Republic of China.

Founded in 1966 as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Washington, D.C., the World Future Society has members in more than 80 countries around the world. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join the Society and participate in its programs and activities

The Society holds a two-day, international conference once a year where participants discuss foresight techniques and global trends that are influencing the future. Previous conference attendees have included future U.S. President Gerald Ford (1974), Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1975), behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner (1984), age-wave expert Ken Dychtwald (2005), U.S. comptroller general David M. Walker (2006) and inventor Ray Kurzweil (2010). Others in attendance typically include business leaders, government officials, scientists, corporate planners, and forecasters from across the globe.

The Futurists: BetaLaunch showcase will be held in conjunction with WorldFuture 2012: Dream. Design. Develop. Deliver, the annual conference of the World Future Society, at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, July 27-29, 2012.

All inventors selected to present their inventions at F:BL will receive a complimentary registration to the WorldFuture 2012 conference ($750 value). Travel costs are the responsibility of each inventor.

For more information, visit:

Published in World Future Society

InventHelp’s Invention & New Product Exposition (INPEX) is pleased to announce the dates for the 27th annual INPEX® Show, June 13-15, 2012. INPEX®, America’s largest Invention Trade Show, features inventors from the United States as well as more than 20 countries. The show will be held at the Monroeville Convention Center, just fifteen minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.

InventHelp’s INPEX® is a unique trade show that showcases numerous inventions, new products and innovations that are available to license, market or manufacture. This trade show brings inventors together with industry representatives in one convenient networking forum. INPEX® will again present the INPEX® Inventor’s University™, a series of seminars, presentations and panel discussions on topics like prototyping, patenting and manufacturing. The show will also feature private product searches, where inventors can present ideas to large, well-known companies who are looking for new products to add to their existing lines, as well as provide feedback to the inventors about their products.

“We are very excited to have set the dates for our 27th annual show,” said Nicole Hait, trade show director. “This past year, hundreds of companies utilized INPEX® as a venue to look for new and innovative products to add to their existing product lines. Corporate America has never been more interested in inventions.”

INPEX® is a service of InventHelp®, America’s largest invention submission company. If you are an inventor who might be interested in exhibiting at INPEX®, prime space is now available. Please visit our website for up-to-date information or call 888-54-INPEX to speak to one of our INPEX® account executives. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to exhibit at America’s largest invention trade show.

For more information, visit:

Published in INPEX

A Canadian-invented prosthetic arm that's controlled by brain signals is being recognized by the James Dyson Award.

AMO Arm and its two Canadian inventors – Michal Prywata and Thiago Caires – have officially moved on to the final Top 15 round of finalists in the prestigious, international engineering award.

On November 8, 2011, inventor and innovator James Dyson will select the top scoring design. The winner will receive receive £10,000 (for the student or the team) and £10,000 for the winner's university department.

Prywata and Caires' invention was selected from a competitive field of 550 inventions from 18 countries.

"AMO Arm is a prosthetic limb that is controlled using brain signals," explains the team. "AMO Arm replaces an invasive, costly and lengthy surgical procedure, dramatically improving the quality of life for amputees."

Prywata and Caires have already turned AMO Arm into a successful business venture which includes development of assistance devices for paraplegics, various types of amputations, and non-invasive blood glucose meters for diabetes patients. The Ryerson Biomedical Engineering students have built a company, Toronto-based Bionik Laboratories Inc., and are currently securing their first round of investor funding.

See below for the full list of the Top 15 inventors:

AMO Arm (Canada)
Problem: The loss of an arm can often demand invasive muscle re-innervation surgery for full arm prosthetics.
Solution: AMO Arm bypasses the medical procedure. It can be strapped on and is controlled using brain signals, avoiding major surgery and the long rehabilitation period after.
Dyson engineers said: "It is quite incredible that so many complex movements can be achieved by thought alone. Very slick, very hi tech and very impressive."

Air Massage (UK)
Problem: Arthritis sufferers experience stiff joints which can effectively "seize up" and are difficult and painful to get moving again.
Solution: The device uses PVC air bags which fill to create a wave of pressure across the hand. This provides a massage and compression, both of which are beneficial to the sufferer.
Dyson engineers said: "This is a good product idea which is demonstrated by great rigs."

Airdrop Irrigation (Australia)
Problem: Drought has devastating consequences, but there is an abundant source of water in the air around us.
Solution: Airdrop Irrigation feeds air though a network of subterranean piping, cooling the air and allowing condensation. It then pumps this water directly to the crops above.
Dyson engineers said: "We like how the designer engineered a very simple low cost product to help drought stricken areas. The clever idea here is how he's used cool subterranean ground to condense water out of the air."

AudioWeb (UK)
Problem: The internet is highly visual and can be difficult for the blind and partially sighted to navigate. Existing products simply read the page content and can be confusing.
Solution: AudioWeb uses multiple voices to reflect text formatting, and music provides the context of where you are on the screen - making web use faster and easier.
Dyson engineers said: "A satisfactory program that helps blind people to use the internet seems long overdue – this is an improvement on the existing technology available."

Blindspot (Singapore)
Problem: The white cane is an invaluable tool in guiding the visually impaired away from hazards, but it's not intelligent enough to guide them towards things, like a nearby friend.
Solution: Blindspot augments the existing white cane with technology to direct the user towards a chosen destination using an optical track button.
Dyson engineers said: "Designers should always consider how new technology can improve existing products."

dbGLOVE (Italy)
Problem: The deaf and blind can suffer from a lack of access, communication and mobility.
Solution: This interactive glove helps not only the deaf but also the deaf and blind by using a range of stimulations and buttons to allow computer mediated communication.
Dyson engineers said: "DbGLOVE allows the deaf and blind to communicate at the 'tips of their fingers.'"

Ecoclean (Spain)
Problem: Using a conventional mop and bucket means you're always returning dirty water to your clean floor. On top of which, most buckets require between 5 and 7 litres of water.
Solution: Ecoclean uses two receptacles in the bucket separate the clean water from the dirty water, so the two are never mixed. Instead of 7 litres of water, Ecoclean requires only 1 litre to work effectively. This cuts back on water consumption and contamination.
Dyson engineers said: "A simple, yet revolutionary re-invention of the traditional mop and bucket. This hygienic and eco-conscious design works with basic principles to solve two problems at once."

KwickScreen (UK)
Problem: Hospital wards do not afford patients privacy and can be a breeding ground for hospital acquired infections.
Solution: KwickScreen is a portable, retractable room divider. Using Rolatube technology it increases the privacy, dignity and protection afforded to patients. It allows healthcare professionals to make the best use of available space and can be wiped clean to improve hygiene.
Dyson engineers said: "KwickScreen exploits the benefits Rolatube technology and is an hygienic alternative to dusty curtains. A slick project, brilliantly done."

MediMover (Ireland)
Problem: Devices to manoeuvre patients in hospitals are often flimsy and impractical. This can contribute to back problems for porters.
Solution: MediMover is an aid to transfer patients from one hospital bed to another bed. The process uses minimal effort and eliminates the need to roll or lift the patient.
Dyson engineers said: "This is a good example of how good design can reduce the strain caused by an everyday task."

Open Socket (USA)
Problem: The current cost (approx. $5,000) and complexity of assembly of prosthetic arms is a huge barrier to helping amputees in developing countries.
Solution: The Open Socket prosthetic arm is mechanically controlled by simple body movements which allow the hook to be opened and closed and replace the function of a human hand. It can be fitted onto an amputee in under 10 minutes and costs only $100.
Dyson engineers said: "Open Socket is an ingenious answer to a longstanding need for a low cost, easy-fit prosthetics for use in developing countries."

R2B2: Mechanised Kitchen Utensils (Germany)
Problem: We use vast amounts of energy in food production; every stage from growing, harvesting, packaging, purchasing and cooking can place a strain on our resources.
Solution: R2B2 uses a fly wheel, driven by a pedal, to generate and store electricity. This eliminates the need for electricity in food preparation.
Dyson engineers said: "We loved this how this technology engages the user with the whole cooking process; from the creation and storing of energy, to the preparation of food."

Rabbit Ray (Singapore)
Problem: Children often associate hospital procedures with punishment, ultimately leading to an unhealthy mindset in later years.
Solution: Rabbit Ray is communication tool for hospital staff and children to explain blood taking and intravenous drips. Using a rabbit to demonstrate the child is shown how and why the simple procedures are taking place, allaying their fears.
Dyson engineers said: "Everyone remembers being terrified of injections as a child. Rabbit Ray is about prevention rather than cure – explaining something to a child through a medium they understand."

Suppostin (UK)
Problem: About 95% of people who suffer from a spinal cord injury require at least one intervention to initiate defecation. This is often aided by an insertion of a gloved finger into the anus which can be frustrating and embarrassing for patients.
Solution: The Suppostin suppository inserter removes the need for the insertion of fingers. In this way, it allows users to be more independent and dignified in their bowel care.
Dyson engineers said: "A challenging problem and a brilliant solution."

You'd Better Drink Tea (Germany)
Problem: Millions of cups of tea are brewed around the world and each one uses a myriad of materials which negatively affect our environment.
Solution: You'd Better Drink Tea cuts the materials down to just one - a biodegradable plastic pocket which protects, brews and then stirs your tea.
Dyson engineers said: "A teabag and teaspoon in one. You'd Better Drink Tea enables the drinker to make a cup of tea with just one material, eliminating a lot of the waste from your daily brew."

Mobile Furniture (Japan)
Problem: Finding adaptable furniture for a small narrow room is difficult.
Solution: Mobile Furniture uses link mechanics to create adaptable furniture – creating a dining table, cupboard, bed space, shelving unit and high table.
Dyson engineers said: "Amazing furniture design – fantastically prototyped. It is incredible that something so small can incorporate so much engineering and function".

For more information, visit: or

Published in James Dyson Foundation

From sports to ice cream to the beach, the staples of summer form the basis of treasured memories. But it's one of summer's most important inventions that comes to mind when the temperatures soar, making even the most oppressive summer -- cool. It is hard to imagine life without it.

This year marks the 109th anniversary of the invention of modern air conditioning by Dr. Willis H. Carrier, inventor and founder of Carrier Corp., the world's leader in high technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions and a unit of United Technologies (UTX). On July 17, 1902 in the midst of a steamy summer, Carrier developed and later patented the first modern system to provide man-made control over temperature, humidity, ventilation and indoor air. From there, his innovation created an industry dedicated to making the world a cooler place to live, work and play. In celebration of this historic anniversary, here a few facts about Willis Carrier, inventor and entrepreneur:

* Even though it's a people-pleaser, Carrier's original invention was designed for paper -- not comfort. A Brooklyn, N.Y. printing plant challenged Carrier to stabilize the temperature and moisture in the air so the dimensions of the paper would remain constant and the different color inks would line up correctly. This innovation gave birth to the air conditioning industry.

* "Industrial conditioning" was the primary focus of Carrier's early work, helping many manufacturers out of sticky situations, including chewing gum factories. If the air was too warm and moist, the gum was too sticky to cut; if the air was too cool and dry the gum sheets were brittle and shattered.

* Carrier first applied air conditioning to a residence in 1914, and later introduced the Carrier Room Weathermaker in 1932. However consumers were slow to embrace the idea. In fact, Fortune magazine recently reprinted an article from its archives with the headline, "Air conditioning remains a prime public disappointment of the 1930s." What a difference a few decades has made.  Today air conditioning is found in more than 85 percent of U.S. homes.

* Willis Carrier is referred to as the Father of Cool, and with good reason. Over his career, he had a number of industry "firsts," including applying modern air conditioning to department stores (J.L. Hudson's, Detroit), movie theaters (Rivoli Theater, New York City), office buildings (T.W. Patterson Building, Fresno, Calif.), ships (S.S. Victoria), railroad cars (Martha Washington dining car), the chambers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and even the bus from Bagdad to Damascus just to name a few.

* Though a genius, Carrier struggled with math as a child -- particularly fractions. To help him grasp the concept, his mother had him cut apples into halves, quarters and eighths and then add and subtract the parts. He later went on to develop the "Rationale Psychrometric Formulae" that calculates dew point control. This formula still forms the basis for modern air conditioning.

"Willis Carrier solidified his place in history by meeting the challenges of indoor air control. He started an industry and fostered the success of many other industries with his pioneering innovation. His unrelenting passion for solving problems continues to inspire our employees today as we focus on building on a strong legacy of sustainability and innovation," said Geraud Darnis, president, Carrier Corp. "Willis wouldn't have it any other way."

For more information on Willis Carrier, the history of modern air conditioning and Carrier Corp.'s work in the industry today, visit:

Published in Carrier Corp

Utah State University Research Foundation's Energy Dynamics Laboratory recently operated the first high-power, high-efficiency wireless power transfer system capable of transferring enough energy to quickly charge an electric vehicle.  The lightweight, low-profile system demonstrated 90 percent electrical transfer efficiency of five kilowatts over an air gap of 10 inches.  The demonstration at EDL's North Logan, Utah, facility further validates that electric vehicles can efficiently be charged with wireless technology.

"This demonstration is an extraordinary and historic step in providing technologies to electric vehicle owners who will be able to pull their cars into garages at home and charge without having to plug in with cords," said Jeff Muhs, director of the Energy Dynamics Laboratory.  "Our scientists and engineers have proven that enough power can be transferred over large distances to safely and efficiently charge electric car batteries from a pad under the ground to a receiver attached to the undercarriage of a vehicle – and this is just the beginning."

Based on the same theory that currently enables consumers to wirelessly charge toothbrushes and cell phones, EDL has expanded the technology to levels and efficiencies that are unprecedented.  EDL also demonstrated that the wireless power transfer system it has developed is tolerant of lateral misalignment in any direction within approximately six inches.  The power level and efficiency specifications are firsts in the United States for a system of this kind and the combined performance is unique in the world.

"In the not-so-distant future, we will see vehicles go from being charged by plugging into the electric grid, to wirelessly charging in garages, shopping centers and dedicated refueling stations, to mass transit vehicles that are charged as they are in motion and eventually wireless electric roadways where cars will travel at 75 miles per hour while being charged," stated Muhs.  "Future versions of the system architecture developed at EDL have the unique potential to be embedded under pavement and transfer power wirelessly to vehicles at speeds of 75 mph or more and provide enough power to completely eliminate the range anxiety of electric vehicles.  Wireless power transfer represents the disruptive technology that will eventually enable the safe and efficient electrification of highways, end our dependence on foreign oil, and enable a new era of enhanced mobility."

EDL's wireless power transfer technology will be discussed with industry leaders from around the world and demonstrated during the Conference on Electric Roads & Vehicles (CERV), February 27-28, 2012, in Park City, Utah.  For information on CERV, visit:

The U.S. Postal Service today dedicated a new sheet of stamps honoring 12 of the nation's most important and influential industrial designers. The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum was the setting for the dedication.

The 12 designers who are honored on individual stamps include Peter Muller-Munk, Frederick Hurten Rhead, Raymond Loewy, Donald Deskey, Walter Dorwin Teague, Henry Dreyfuss, Norman Bel Geddes, Dave Chapman, Greta von Nessen, Eliot Noyes, Russel Wright and Gilbert Rohde.

"Encompassing everything from furniture and electric kitchen appliances to corporate office buildings and passenger trains, the work of these designers defined the look of modern America, and in doing, revolutionized the way we live and work," said Dean Granholm, Postal Service vice president of Delivery and Post Office Operations, at today's ceremony.

Joining Granholm to dedicate the stamps were Bill Moggridge, director, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum; Ralph Caplan, design writer; Jessica Helfand and Sylvia Harris, Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee; Derry Noyes, art director; Margaret Bauer, art designer; and Stephen M. Kearney, executive director, Stamp Services.

Industrial design emerged as a profession in the United Sates in the 1920s, but really took off during the Great Depression. Faced with decreasing sales, manufacturers turned to industrial designers to give their products a modern look that would appeal to consumers. Characterized by horizontal lines and rounded shapes, the new, streamlined looks differed completely from the decorative extravagance of the 1920s. The designs evoked a sense of speed and efficiency and projected the image of progress and affluence the public desired.

Consumer interest in modern design continued to increase after World War II, when machines allowed corporations to mass produce vacuums, hair dryers, toasters and other consumer goods at low cost. Industrial designers helped lower costs further by exploiting inexpensive new materials like plastic, vinyl, chrome, aluminum and plywood, which responded well to advances in manufacturing such as the use of molds and stamping. Affordable prices and growing prosperity nationwide helped drive popular demand.

Even as streamlining gave way to new looks in the 1960s, the groundbreaking work of industrial designers continued to transform the look of homes and offices across the country. Today, industrial design remains an integral component of American manufacturing and business, as well as daily life.

Each stamp features the name of a designer and a photograph of an object created by the designer, as well as a description of the object and the year or years when the object was created. The selvage features a photograph of the "Airflow" fan designed by Robert Heller around 1937. Derry Noyes, whose father is honored on this sheet of stamps, was the art director.

The Pioneers of American Industrial Design stamps go on sale nationwide today at local Post Offices, online at and through the toll-free line, 1-800 782-6724.


The Pioneers of American Industrial Design stamp pane honors 12 of the nation's most important and influential industrial designers. Encompassing everything from furniture and electric kitchen appliances to corporate office buildings and passenger trains, the work of these designers helped shape the look of everyday life in the 20th century.

Each stamp features the name of a designer and a photograph of an object created by the designer, as well as a description of the object and the year or years when the object was created. The selvage features a photograph of the "Airflow" fan designed by Robert Heller around 1937.

Industrial design is the study and creation of products whose appearance, function and construction have been optimized for human use. It emerged as a profession in the U.S. in the 1920s but really took hold during the Depression. Faced with decreasing sales, manufacturers turned to industrial designers to give their products a modern look that would appeal to consumers. Characterized by horizontal lines and rounded, wind-resistant shapes, the new, streamlined looks differed completely from the decorative extravagance of the 1920s. They evoked a sense of speed and efficiency and projected the image of progress and affluence the public desired.

Consumer interest in modern design continued to increase after World War II, when machines allowed corporations to mass produce vacuums, hair dryers, toasters and other consumer goods at low cost. Industrial designers helped lower costs further by exploiting inexpensive new materials like plastic, vinyl, chrome, aluminum and plywood, which responded well to advances in manufacturing such as the use of molds and stamping. Affordable prices and growing prosperity nationwide helped drive popular demand.

Even as streamlining gave way to new looks in the 1960s, the groundbreaking work of industrial designers continued to transform the look of homes and offices across the country. Today, industrial design remains an integral component of American manufacturing and business, as well as daily life.

Frederick Hurten Rhead
(b. Aug. 29, 1880, Hanley, England; d. Nov. 2, 1942, New York, NY)

Frederick Hurten Rhead helped pioneer the design of mass-produced ceramic tableware for the home. He is best remembered for the sleek Fiesta® line (shown on the stamp) introduced by The Homer Laughlin China Company in 1936. Moderately priced and available in five brightly colored and durable glazes, the wildly popular Fiesta® dinnerware introduced the concept of mixing and matching while also transforming the look of domestic interiors across America. For Rhead, the line's clean lines and bold colors best represented modern design. His other designs for Homer Laughlin included kitchen accessories and "Harlequin" tableware.

The eldest son of one of the leading pottery designers in the U.K., Rhead immigrated to the U.S. in June 1902, when the American art pottery movement was just beginning to develop. He worked at several commercial ceramics factories, including Roseville, where he was art director from 1904 to 1908. He also helped establish Jervis Pottery on Long Island and ran a pottery studio at Arequipa, a California sanatorium for women suffering from tuberculosis. There he experimented with the decorative potential of several types of glaze. From 1917 to 1927, Rhead was the director of research at American Encaustic Tiling Company, a large commercial pottery in Zanesville, Ohio. He served as art director for Homer Laughlin from 1927 until his death in 1942.

Walter Dorwin Teague
(b. Dec. 18, 1883, Decatur, IN; d. Dec. 5, 1960, Flemington, NJ)

Known as the "dean of industrial design," Walter Dorwin Teague believed that good artistic design fit both form and function into a single aesthetic package. During his career-long collaboration with Eastman Kodak Company, he designed several popular cameras, including the 1934 "Baby Brownie" (shown on the stamp). Made of black Bakelite, the camera's box-shaped body featured art deco details and a metal viewfinder that folded down when the camera was not in use.

Teague's simple, artistic designs for other consumer goods, like household appliances and electric clocks, helped make him one of the most successful industrial designers in the U.S.

In 1927, Teague opened one of the first industrial design firms in the nation. Drawing on his earlier training in advertising, he aimed to increase sales by improving the aesthetic appearance of products and subsequent appeal to the public. Viewing industrial design as both an art and an integral part of contemporary life, Teague publicized his philosophy in speeches, articles and his 1940 book, Design This Day. During the 1930s, his firm developed a new streamlined look for Texaco gas stations and, following World War II, designed jet interiors for Boeing. Teague served on the board of design for the 1939 World's Fair and designed several popular pavilion exhibits for this and other World's Fairs. In 1940, he was one of the founders of the American Society of Industrial Designers and served as its first president.

Norman Bel Geddes
(b. Apr. 21, 1893, Adrian, MI; d. May 8, 1958, New York, NY)

A founding member of the American Society of Industrial Designers, Norman Bel Geddes was a noted champion of streamlining. "Speed is the cry of our era," he once said, "and greater speed one of the goals of tomorrow." The author of highly influential books on design and urban planning, Bel Geddes created visionary new looks for cars, trains, planes, buildings, even entire cities. He also designed a wide range of practical items such as typewriters, stoves, household furnishings and other everyday objects like vacuums.  The "Patriot" radio manufactured by Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corporation featured a red-and-white grille that echoed the stripes of the American flag. Although not all of his designs were manufactured, they nevertheless helped shape the look of 20th-century America.

Bel Geddes worked in theater and illustration before developing a distinguished career as one of the leading and most innovative theatrical set designers on Broadway. In the mid-1920s, he established his own industrial design firm, and for the next three decades designed for IBM, Chrysler, RCA, Shell Oil and other corporations. His design for the extremely popular "Futurama" exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair dramatically imagined a future of towns and resorts linked by superhighways to cities filled with skyscrapers, elevated sidewalks, streamlined cars and lush public parks.

Raymond Loewy
(b. Nov. 5, 1893, Paris, France; d. Jul. 14, 1986, Monte Carlo, Monaco)

Raymond Loewy arguably did more to define the look of modern America than perhaps any other industrial designer. He believed that products should be simple, functional and appealing, and this vision came to permeate nearly every aspect of American life. Loewy and his firm, which became the largest of its kind in the world, designed everything from trains and cars to household appliances, corporate logos and even office tools like the pencil sharpener prototype shown on the stamp. "I can say of myself," he once said, "that I have made the mundane side of the 20th century more beautiful."

Loewy emigrated to the U.S. in 1919 and by the mid-1930s had become one of America's leading industrial designers. His landmark redesign of the 1934 "Coldspot" refrigerator for Sears Roebuck & Company featured rustproof aluminum shelves and a sleek, streamlined look. Later projects included buses for Greyhound, tractors, sales buildings and the logo for International Harvester. Loewy also created the distinctive look of Air Force One (featured on the 2007 Air Force One Priority Mail stamp) and worked with NASA on the interiors of America's first space station, Skylab. He designed the President John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial stamp issued in 1964, and in 1971, he created the logo for the newly formed U.S. Postal Service. Issued in 1999, the All Aboard! Twentieth Century Trains stamps included the "Congressional," which featured the GG-1 electric locomotive designed by Loewy for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Another of his designs, the 1953 Studebaker Starliner, was featured on the America on the Move: 50s Sporty Cars stamps issued in 2005.

Donald Deskey
(b. Nov. 23, 1894, Blue Earth, MN; d. Apr. 29, 1989, Vero Beach, FL)

Donald Deskey is best known for the lavish art deco interiors he designed in 1932 for Radio City Music Hall in New York City. However, he was also one of America's most innovative industrial designers. A staunch advocate of modernism, Deskey exploited advances in mass production and other technological developments. His groundbreaking designs for furniture and lighting, like the table lamp shown on the stamp, made bold use of chrome, cork, linoleum, wood veneer, aluminum and other nontraditional materials.

A founding member of the American Society of Industrial Designers, Deskey was instrumental in winning public acceptance for modern design.

Trained as an architect, Deskey worked in painting in Paris, France, before settling in New York City. In 1926, he and business partner Phillip Vollmer established Deskey-Vollmer, a design consulting firm that specialized in furniture, textiles and lighting fixtures. Following the dissolution of the company in 1931, Deskey exhibited at the 1939 New York World's Fair and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He also taught a course in industrial design at New York University. Around 1943, he formed Donald Deskey Associates, whose clients included Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson. Deskey's package designs for Crest toothpaste and Tide laundry detergent remain familiar to consumers today.

Gilbert Rohde
(b. Jun. 1, 1894, New York, NY; d. Jun. 16, 1944, New York, NY)

Gilbert Rohde was one of the most influential and innovative furniture designers in the U.S. His designs for Herman Miller in the 1930s and 1940s were based on simplicity and practicality and marked the beginning of modern design at the company. Created for the Herman Miller Clock Company in 1933, his design of polished chromium and black Carrara glass abstracted the clock face – its most essential elements. His work included modular and sectional furniture made of wood, chrome, Bakelite, Plexiglass and other new materials, as well as clocks such as the one shown on the stamp. Rohde's emphasis on compact, functional, and affordable pieces for both home and office anticipated consumer needs and became the model for furniture design after World War II.

Rohde opened his own interior and furniture design firm in the late 1920s, and by 1931 he was designing furniture for mass production. His association with the Herman Miller Furniture Company, where he took on the role of design director, began in 1932. Instead of the period reproductions popular at the time, Rohde's work drew on contemporary styles in art and architecture like functionality, minimalism and biomorphic shapes. He also successfully guided the company's marketing and promotion efforts, including writing and designing advertisements. Rohde designed exhibits for the 1939 New York World's Fair, and his designs were shown at the Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. His association with Herman Miller continued until his death in 1944.

Greta von Nessen
(b. circa 1900, Sweden; d. Aug. 27, 1974, Murrysville, PA)

Greta von Nessen specialized solely in lighting, and none of her designs is better known than the "Anywhere" lamp (shown on the stamp). Introduced in 1951, the lamp featured a tubular aluminum base and an adjustable shade made of enameled metal. Inventive and versatile, the lamp was available in a variety of colors and could be used on a table, mounted on the wall or suspended from the ceiling. This and several other of von Nessen's lamps have been featured in industrial design exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art.

A graduate of the School for Industrial Arts in Stockholm, Sweden, von Nessen settled in the U.S. with her husband, architect and industrial designer Walter von Nessen, in 1925. Two years later, they established Nessen Studio, a New York-based firm that concentrated on lamps and lighting fixtures. Soon the studio was also designing furniture, appliances and other household objects for the city's leading architects and manufacturers. After the death of her husband in 1943, von Nessen closed the studio. She reopened it after World War II and renewed the production of earlier lighting designs while also introducing innovative new lamps of her own.

Russel Wright
(b. Apr. 3, 1904, Lebanon, OH; d. Dec. 22, 1976, New York, NY)

Specializing in household products, Russel Wright revolutionized the way we live at home. He designed at a time when growing numbers of Americans were shedding the prim conventions of the early 20th century in favor of simple and informal practicality. During his career, Wright created affordable modern furniture and tableware characterized by minimal but elegant forms. Each stainless-steel piece of Highlight/Pinch flatware (pictured on the stamp) featured an organically shaped handle and no applied ornament. Wright designed the flatware in 1950 to complement his many lines of tableware.

Educated in painting and sculpture, Wright began his career designing for the theater. In 1930, he opened his own industrial design studio in New York City, and within just a few years he was setting the standard for contemporary domestic products like lamps, tables and small kitchen appliances. Introduced by Macy's in 1935, the American Modern furniture line featured bleached wood, rounded corners and simple silhouettes. Its success with consumers made Wright a household name. Four years later, Wright created the economical and even more popular American Modern line of ceramic tableware, whose pieces could be mixed and matched. With his wife and design partner, Mary Wright, he wrote Guide to Easier Living, published in 1951, which offered advice and suggestions for making everyday life comfortable.

Henry Dreyfuss
(b. Mar. 2, 1904, New York, NY; d. Oct. 5 1972, South Pasadena, CA)

Considered by many to be the first designer to apply ergonomics systematically to product design, Henry Dreyfuss considered the user to be the center and focus of his industrial design work. During a career that lasted more than 40 years, he designed products that touched all corners of American life, from household appliances like clocks, sewing machines and vacuum cleaners to tractors and even the comfortable interiors of trains and planes. Dreyfuss also set the standard for telephone design in the U.S. His design for the 1937 Model 302 Bell telephone (shown on the stamp) featured a new handset and base that improved the balance and appearance of the nation's most popular telephone. His revolutionary design for the "Trimline" telephone was the first to combine the dial and handset.

Dreyfuss opened his own consultant industrial design firm in 1929. His clients included Hoover, Polaroid, Honeywell, Singer and the New York Central Railroad Company, for whom he designed the "20th Century Limited," a streamlined train both inside and out, in 1938. He also enjoyed longstanding relationships with Deere & Company, Bell, AT&T and Hallmark, among others. In 1944, Dreyfuss became the first vice president of the American Society of Industrial Designers, and in 1965, he was named president of the newly formed Industrial Designers Society of America.

Peter Muller-Munk
(b. Jun. 25, 1904, Berlin, Germany; d. Mar. 13, 1967, Pittsburgh, PA)

Peter Muller-Munk is best remembered for the "Normandie" pitcher featured on the stamp. Introduced by the Revere Copper and Brass Company in 1935, the mass-produced pitcher was made of chromium-plated brass, an alternative to silverware that was affordable and easier to care for. The pitcher's simple curves, teardrop shape and unornamented form embodied the streamlined style. Muller-Munk also designed the 1937 Waring blender, a now-classic combination of chrome and glass initially dubbed the "Miracle Mixer."

Muller-Munk studied as a silversmith in Berlin before emigrating to the U.S. in 1926. He designed silver pieces for Tiffany & Co. in New York City then opened his own studio in 1929. Several of his designs were exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1935, he became an associate professor of industrial design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh. Three years later, he opened his own consulting industrial design firm, Peter Muller-Munk Associates. Clients included Westinghouse, Texaco and U.S. Steel. A champion of industrial design as a profession, Muller-Munk served as president of the American Society of Industrial Designers from 1954 to 1957 and as the first president of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design from 1957 to 1959.

Dave Chapman
(b. Jan. 30, 1909, Gilman, IL; d. May 20, 1978, Chicago, IL)

Honored by the Industrial Designers Society of America for his "vigorous sponsorship and backing of design research and high standards of industrial design education," Dave Chapman is probably most known for his innovative and award-winning designs for classroom furniture. He also designed household appliances like refrigerators, hairdryers, radios and electric heaters. Shown at the first exhibition of the American Society of Industrial Designers in 1947, Chapman's streamlined sewing machines (shown on the stamp) featured a chrome grille that evoked the sleek look of contemporary automobiles.

Chapman studied architecture at the Armour Institute of Technology (later known as the Illinois Institute of Technology). In 1933, he joined Montgomery Ward, first as an architect and then as head of product design. He left in 1936 to open his own industrial design office, with clients that included Corning Glass, Maytag, Hamilton Beach, Parker Pens, Johnson Motors, Inc. and Sears. In 1950, Chapman served as the president of the Society of Industrial Designers. Four years later, his firm designed a line of classroom furniture for Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company. Made of tubular steel and plywood, the furniture earned the highest honor bestowed by the Society of Industrial Designers. Chapman was named a Benjamin Franklin Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1960.

Eliot Noyes
(b. Aug. 12, 1910, Boston, MA; d. Jul. 18, 1977, New Canaan, CT)

Eliot Noyes bridged the gap between business and art, transforming the industrial design profession into more than just a commercial venture. Rather than continue the practice of changing a product's design every year, Noyes persuaded his corporate clients to adopt long-lasting design principles instead. He is best remembered for his long working relationship with IBM, for whom he designed buildings, interiors and a range of office equipment, like the iconic 1961 "Selectric" typewriter pictured on the stamp. He also helped IBM and other companies develop a distinct and consistent identity.

In 1940, two years after earning a master's degree in architecture from Harvard University, Noyes became the first director of industrial design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His relationship with IBM began after World War II, when he designed the company's 1947 Model A electric typewriter as design director for the Norman Bel Geddes design firm. When the Bel Geddes office closed, IBM retained Noyes as a consultant designer, eventually appointing him the consulting director of corporate design in 1956, a position he held until his death in 1977. Noyes also ran his own office in New Canaan, Connecticut, serving as consulting director of design for Westinghouse and Mobil. He served as advisor to the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1972 to 1977.

A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 150 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With 32,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government,, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $67 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world's mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 29th in the 2010 Fortune 500. Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business magazines ranked the Postal Service as a leader in workforce diversity. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency six consecutive years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.

Published in U.S. Postal Service

Enventix Inc., a clean tech company focused on alternative energy, is successfully using software from Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) for green manufacturing to develop its patent-pending Enpresso system. The system enables the conversion of municipal waste, biomass and other low-grade feedstocks into clean, renewable energy.

The Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program — which provides software for emerging clean tech companies in North America, Europe and Japan — provided Enventix with powerful Digital Prototyping software to help evaluate, validate and refine its original concepts.

By converting waste to energy two to six times more effectively than competing systems while exceeding any standard for air emissions, Enpresso can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of current waste management and energy generation practices.

Enpresso’s efficiency comes from its innovative design, which produces pure syngas for a gas turbine converted from waste affordably and cleanly at the distributed scale. Its elegant and simple design represents a break from conventional thermo-chemical reactor concepts.

Optimizing Green Manufacturing with Digital Prototyping

The Enventix team used Autodesk Inventor software in every step of the development of the Enpresso system, benefiting from more collaborative conceptual design within the team through time- and cost-saving digital prototypes, and providing data for the creation of detailed computational fluid dynamics and thermo-mechanical modeling. Autodesk reseller KETIV Technologies provided training and support to help enable Enventix to more fully adopt Digital Prototyping to design Enpresso.

“Digital Prototyping gives our designers and engineers the capability to fully optimize their designs about 20-40% more quickly,” said Monem Alyaser, founder, president and CEO of Enventix. “As the complexity of systems and projects grows, our time to market has also been shrinking. The costs of not using Digital Prototyping are just too big, and Autodesk software is the best choice.”

Digital Prototyping also plays a crucial role in helping Enventix communicate its vision to outside parties and investors. Autodesk Showcase software renders mechanical designs into photorealistic representations of the company’s products, while Autodesk 3ds Max Design software creates animations that help convey the company’s most complex technology concepts. Enventix additionally uses Autodesk Vault Professional to more effectively manage design projects across the three locations where their design team is based.

“From product development to marketing, Enventix is making good use of Digital Prototyping to help solve the huge renewable energy conversion challenge that society faces,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. “Through the Clean Tech Partner Program, Enventix is producing radical solutions with minimal investment.”

About the Clean Tech Partner Program

The Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program supports the efforts, innovations and environmental advancements of clean technology pioneers, providing world-class software to design, visualize, and simulate their ideas through Digital Prototyping. Clean tech companies in North America, Europe and Japan are invited to apply to receive up to $150,000* worth of software for only $50. Access to a collection of Autodesk industry-leading software includes up to five licenses of Autodesk Product Design Suite Ultimate, AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite, Autodesk Simulation Mechanical, Autodesk Inventor Publisher and Autodesk Vault Professional software.

For more information, visit: or

Published in Autodesk

A student team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., won top honors in the 2011 ASME Innovation Showcase (ASME IShow) for a medical device that provides reliable vascular access in dialysis treatments.

Rice University and the University of Michigan received second and third-place prizes, respectively, in the engineering competition held June 11 at the 2011 ASME Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas. Ten collegiate teams participated in ASME IShow, which bases awards on technical ingenuity, quality of business plans, potential for success in the commercial marketplace, and other criteria.

Johns Hopkins’ Hemova Port is a fully implantable device that connects directly to veins in patients undergoing kidney dialysis.  The Hemova is seen by the six-person engineering design team at Johns Hopkins as an innovative replacement for catheters and other current blood-access devices that have demonstrated high rates of failure leading to infection and thrombosis.

“The Hemova significantly reduces infection risk by having a completely subcutaneous port using the skin as a natural barrier,” say the researchers in a product plan submitted to judges at ASME I-Show.  Designed in collaboration with engineers and clinicians at Johns Hopkins, the Hemova is fabricated from titanium and silicone and features a pressure-activated valve mechanism. For their research and design, the team received the first place prize of $10,000 in award funding from ASME.

Rice University received the second-place award of $7,000 for a device called NeoSyP, a novel mechanical syringe pump targeted at neonatal care in the developing world. NeoSyP (Neonatal Syringe Pump) is a gravity-driven pump that uses an oscillating pendulum to deliver accurate medicinal and nutritional fluids to premature and low birthweight neonates without the need of electricity or elaborate set-up.    

The University of Michigan won the third-place award of $5,000 for a device called DIIME (Design Innovations for Infants and Mothers Everywhere), a low-cost medical apparatus designed to provide emergency blood transfusions for woman faced with ruptured ectopic pregnancies, the largest contributor to first-trimester maternal mortality in underdeveloped nations.

Now in its fifth year, the ASME IShow offers participating student teams a platform to develop and showcase their engineering and business skills as they provide solutions to quality of life issues.

ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world.

For more information visit:

Published in ASME

After months of researching, designing and testing prosthetic hand devices to help a three-year-old hold a pencil and draw for the first time, an all-girl FIRST LEGO League team of kid inventors, The Flying Monkeys, finally met in person this week with the toddler who is successfully using their invention. The meeting culminated in a celebration of patent-pending kid inventions designed to help kids with their health-related issues during the inaugural FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award ceremony, June 16, hosted at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

FIRST is a not-for-profit organization that inspires an appreciation of science and technology in young people. The Flying Monkeys are a FIRST LEGO League team comprised of girls, ages 11 to 13. The team created the BOB-1, a prosthetic hand device to enable users with limb abnormalities to hold, stabilize or secure items.

The Flying Monkeys' inspiration for the invention is a three-year-old girl who was born with missing fingers on her dominant hand. The team's coach discovered this child's needs through correspondence with a Yahoo Group for families affected by congenital limb differences. Using Danielle's hand measurements, the FIRST LEGO League teammates invented the device from moldable plastic, a pencil grip and Velcro.

"I see the BOB-1 helping many kids... all over the world," said one of the FIRST LEGO League team members from The Flying Monkeys.

"With FIRST LEGO League, we are reaching kids at a really young age who are making inventions, and they are unbounded in what they think is possible," said Dean Kamen, iconic inventor and founder of FIRST.

The FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award, presented by the X PRIZE Foundation in collaboration with the USPTO, offered teams an opportunity to further develop and submit ideas stemming from their 2010 FIRSTLEGO League research projects.

The Flying Monkeys earned first prize and were honored at the ceremony with $20,000 from the X PRIZE Foundation to apply toward patenting the BOB-1; they already hold a provisional patent for the device. The runner-up teams were also honored on June 16. The winners and their inventions are:

* First Place Winner: The Flying Monkeys of Ames, Iowa, invented a prosthetic hand device enabling users with limb abnormalities to hold, stabilize, or secure items
* Runner-Up: The 4thMotor of East Troy, Wis., invented a non-invasive glucose monitoring device for kids with diabetes; using RFID technology and microchips to eliminate finger pricking
* Runner-Up: Blue Gear Ticks of Lincoln, Mass., invented an unfurling bio-absorbable arterial stent that expands upon demand as children grow

"Today... help me salute my new heroes: The Flying Monkeys, The 4th Motor and The Blue Gear Ticks," said Robert K. Weiss, Vice Chairman and President, X PRIZE Foundation, during the ceremony. "The Global Innovation Award was a competition for these kids to create something really great, to be recognized... and to give real meaning to what these kids have accomplished."

The Global Innovation Award encouraged FIRST LEGO League kids to practice creative problem-solving, a crucial skill in addressing complex, real-world issues. The award ceremony celebrated the winning teams' creativity, compassion and innovation.

The award submissions were based on the 2010 FIRST LEGO League Challenge, BODY FORWARD, which tasked FIRST LEGO League teams in more than 56 countries to explore the cutting-edge world of bio-engineering and discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions, and maximize the body's potential with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives.

FIRST LEGO League teams from 15 countries entered 179 submissions. The entries were voted upon by the public and then judged by an expert panel to determine the most patentable ideas. Close to 400,000 public votes were cast by nearly one million people who visited the award website.

During the award ceremony, members from all three winning FIRST LEGO League teams revealed their paths to innovation during a kid inventor panel. The students also presented their inventions to patent experts, asked the experts for advice and visited the Inventor's Hall of Fame and Museum.

For more information, visit or

Published in FIRST

InventHelp® and INPEX® will hold their 26th annual show, June 15-17, 2011 at the Monroeville Convention Center, near downtown Pittsburgh.

INPEX® is America’s largest invention trade show and welcomes inventors from both the United States and internationally. New products in over 40 categories will be on display, and attendees are able to touch and evaluate new ideas while talking directly to the inventor about the details of the invention. INPEX® is the only show to combine this type of experience and networking format for business representatives.

INPEX® has experienced a 30% increase in inventors for the 2011 show. This is exciting news because while the economy is still experiencing negative effects, innovation is experiencing a surge of growth and expansion. Inventors are able to provide companies with the latest “why didn’t I think of that” products & ideas.

Many companies have chosen INPEX® 2011 as a venue to conduct private product searches, with the potential of adding products to their existing product lines. Companies such as Church and Dwight, SkyMall®, Tupperware, Procter & Gamble, Schroeder & Tremayne, The Clorox Company, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Stanley Black & Decker, OXO and OXO Tot, Reckitt Benckiser and Hampton Direct will be attending INPEX® to give inventors the opportunity to pitch their products to these large, well known companies.

“We are excited to welcome these companies to INPEX®, and are glad that they are choosing INPEX® as a resource to look for new products,” said Nicole Hait, Trade Show Director.

INPEX® is also adding a new feature for business attendees in 2011. The INPEX® Open Innovation Conference, held June 14th and 15th, will bring together top notch open innovation leaders and advanced practitioners from multiple industries to address and provide leadership to accelerate the innovation-to-market cycle.

Attendees of the conference can listen to guest speakers from companies such as General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline, Kraft Foods and Google, who will present on topics like the everyday challenges of open innovation, learning how to use social media technologies to engage with customers, using social networking to increase sales and promote business, growing open innovation capabilities with cost-conscience initiatives and expanding open innovation processes.

If you are a company or business attendee who is interested in attending INPEX®, please visit our website or call 888-54-INPEX to pre-register. INPEX is a service of InventHelp®, America’s largest inventor service company.

For more information visit:

Published in INPEX

ASME has announced that ten collegiate teams will be competing in the on June 11. The ASME IShow provides the full experience of product development and commercialization to undergraduate and graduate students, bridging the gap between engineering knowledge and practical business skills. The competition will be held in conjunction with the ASME Annual Meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel-Dallas in Addison, Texas.

Inspiring students to be product innovators and entrepreneurs, the ASME Innovation Showcase gives top collegiate teams an opportunity to compete for access to over $20,000 in prize funds to further develop their products. Using their technical knowledge and creativity, winners must prove to a judging panel of successful innovators, industry experts and intellectual property specialists that they have a sustainable business model and a product that will have a major impact on their chosen area.

With innovative ideas including an implantable dialysis system and pedal-driven water purification device for use in developing countries, each ASME IShow team strives to utilize its new product concepts to impact the lives of people around the world through accessible and marketable inventions. Prior to the competition, the participants are matched with mentors from their local entrepreneurial community – angel fund investors, universities, and technology-based economic development services – to help them refine their product, develop a business model, and create a product “pitch”.

“The ASME IShow offers participating teams a unique platform to hone both their engineering and business skills by applying them to today’s real-world challenges,” said Robert T. Simmons, president of ASME. “This competition gives these hardworking and dedicated student teams the inspiration and resources needed to turn their ideas into tangible products that could someday change the world.”

The following collegiate teams will participate in the ASME IShow:

* Johns Hopkins University (Hemova)

Hemova is an implantable medical device that performs kidney dialysis.  According to the research and design team, Hemova reduces the potential for stenosis and infection and lasts three times longer than conventional kidney dialysis systems.

* Massachusetts Institute of Technology (The MIT Knee)

The MIT Knee is a full-leg prosthetic developed specifically for use in the developing world.

* Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sanergy)

Sanergy is a business model providing sanitation, waste management, and agricultural services to people in need.

* University of Michigan (DIIME)

DIIME is the acronym for Design Innovations for Infants and Mothers Everywhere, a business initiative that has developed a method to improve blood transfusions for pregnant women.

* New York City College of Technology (City Tech SniffBot)

City Tech SniffBot is a robot that employs sensors to detect chemicals.  It features a solar power backup system that can adjust the tilting angle of the solar panel according to changing movements of the light source.

* Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (WindMEC)

Presented as a new and more cost-effective wind energy system, WindMEC transports mechanical energy directly to where it is needed, reducing the steps between the energy source and the end use.

* Rice University (Harvesting Energy for Aerial Vehicles)

The technical design team, Team MAVerick, has created a modular energy harvesting device that uses photovoltaic and piezoelectric technologies to collect and store electrical energy for use in micro-aerial vehicles operated by the U.S. Air Force.

* Rice University (NeoSyP)

NeoSyP is a gravity-driven, clock-regulated mechanical pump that can deliver medicine and nutritional fluids to infants.  The pump has been designed for use in developing countries as a replacement for intravenous therapy.

* Ryerson University (AMO Arm)

The AMO, or artificial muscle-operated, arm is a prosthetic device that is powered by compressed air and controlled by EEG signals from the brain.

* Western New England College (The Waterboy)

The Waterboy is a portable pedal-powered water purification system for use in remote locations of developing countries.  According to the design team, 7.5 minutes of continuous pedaling provides enough daily clean water for two people.

For more information about the ASME IShow, please visit:

Published in ASME

The question, “Hey, Grandpa, where’d your fingers go?” haunted the man featured in the YouTube video for months after he lost two digits to a table saw. But somehow, he’s on the screen wiggling four normal-length fingers. Two he was born with; the other two Dan Didrick gave him. The latter are surgical steel digits called X-Fingers, which move, flex, and grasp just like his originals.

“Now when the grandkids come over, they’re totally amazed. They call me Robo Man,” says the grandfather, his voice mellowing. “I can’t believe it myself. I actually have fingers that work.”

Didrick, of Naples, Fla., designed these, the world's first active-function artificial finger assemblies specifically for amputees, in SolidWorks® software. He accomplished this feat over a two-week period with no engineering experience – just a week of self-paced tutorials. In fact, he didn’t know what computer-aided design was before he started using it. He’d whittled his first concept prototype from pine.

Eight years and 80-plus designs later, X-Fingers and X-Thumbs mimic natural body parts without any electronics. The criss-crossing surgical steel levers, which put the “X” in X-Fingers, are actuated by the remaining finger or thumb and covered in thermoplastic for a lifelike look and feel. Patients can pick up coins, button shirts, tie shoes, type letters, carry buckets – even play the piano.

X-Fingers, notes Didrick, are a huge leap from the traditional flaccid latex appendages whose only function is masking the problem. As such, X-Fingers have earned his company, Didrick Medical, global recognition:

-Didrick Medical received the 2009 Perfect Pitch Award in November 2009, judged by several successful entrepreneurs, including Sir Richard Branson of Virgin.

-X-Finger has been showcased in the Isimbardi Palace in Milan, Italy, as well as several museums, including the United States Patent and Trademark Museum, the California Science Center in Los Angeles, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the Museum of Science in Boston, the Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal in New York City, and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

-X-Finger was a finalist in the 2009 INDEX: Awards in Copenhagen sponsored by the Crown Prince of Denmark and recognizing “designs for a better life.”

An estimated 94 percent of all non-fatal amputations involve fingers, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Approximately 30,000 people are rushed to US emergency rooms each year because they've amputated one or more, often in a door slam or via power tools, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

Hundreds of adult X-Fingers are in use today. Just entering volume production, they come in 500 different configurations covering five different finger thicknesses, 16 different lengths, and myriad injury profiles. Didrick makes these to order using electric discharge machining (EDM) driven by SolidWorks files. “When a patient needs X-Fingers, I pick a drawing, save it as STL or IGES, send it to a manufacturer, and it comes back a beautiful part,” Didrick says. “SolidWorks is one of the most amazing tools I’ve ever used.”

Years of hard work invested

It’s been a long road for the former medical equipment salesman who has taught himself engineering, patent basics, regulatory relations, manufacturing, and marketing. FDA approval was challenging enough; European approval was excruciating. Applying for the patents alone took a year. “It’s been difficult, but this is my life’s work,” he says. “I do this 80 hours a week. I put everything into this.”

One thing that came remarkably easy, however, was becoming productive with SolidWorks software. “SolidWorks has been really important,” Didrick says. “I had the vision in my head and needed a way to make it reality. SolidWorks helped me do exactly that in three weeks. Because of the complexity of the product and of the dynamics of the injured hand, I’ve been unable to find engineers who can help me. So it’s me and SolidWorks. Without SolidWorks, this never could have happened.”

Didrick Medical relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller The SolidExperts for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.

For more information visit: or

Published in SolidWorks

In celebration of the spirit of innovation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame today honors its 2011 Inductees with a formal Induction ceremony, taking place at the historic Patent Office Building, now home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, in Washington, D.C.  The influence of this year's Inductees can be seen throughout the economy, from the medical device industry to modern imaging, from industrial manufacturing to e-commerce, and from kitchen cookware to iconic colored crayons.

The Induction ceremony, sponsored in part by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Kauffman Foundation, will honor both living and historical inventors.  The living inventors have given us inventions that we utilize every day, including the digital camera, the barcode, and the technology that allows for secure communication over the Internet.  The site for the recognition of historical inventors is particularly appropriate since almost all the inventors would have submitted patent applications to the same building where they are being honored.

"Paying tribute to this year's Inductees at the old Patent Office Building is a fitting celebration of their innovations," said Edward Gray, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. "We hope that this recognition of their tremendous achievements will inspire today and tomorrow's new generations of inventors."

"It is truly a privilege to celebrate and honor such a distinguished group of innovators," said David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.  "Their ingenuity has transformed the very way we interact with the world, and their patented inventions have built businesses that have created jobs and inspired new technological development for generations to come.  The USPTO is delighted to join in recognizing these 39 Inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame."

This year, nine living inventors are honored, one of whom has a deceased co-inventor:

George Devol, Industrial Robot: Devol created the Unimate industrial robot and co-founded Unimation, Inc., the company that manufactured the Unimate.

Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman, Ralph Merkle, Public Key Cryptography: PKC provides security on the otherwise highly insecure Internet, making it vital to such areas as e-commerce.

Eric Fossum, CMOS Active Pixel Sensor Camera-on-a-Chip: CMOS image sensors are a fixture in imaging, found in camera phones, digital SLR cameras, automotive safety systems, swallowable pill cameras, and more.

Gary Michelson, Spinal Surgical Devices: Orthopedic spinal surgeon Michelson has a portfolio of over 250 U.S. and 500 foreign patents related to minimally invasive spinal fusion methods, instruments, and implants.

Steven Sasson, Digital Camera: Sasson invented the first digital camera in 1975 at Eastman Kodak.

Esther S. Takeuchi, Lithium/Silver Vanadium Oxide Battery: Takeuchi led efforts to invent and refine Li/SVO battery technology, utilized in the majority of today's implantable defibrillators.

N. Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver (1924-1963), First Optically Scanned Barcode: Woodland and Silver invented the first optically scanned barcode.  First used by grocery stores, barcodes have many additional uses today.

These Inductees envisioned completely new ideas, achieving what some did not think possible, and their life changing work serves as encouragement to others today.  "I'm thrilled to be honored along with Whit and Ralph for inventing public key cryptography, especially in light of the thinking that we were on a fool's errand," said Inductee Martin Hellman. "I hope this validation of 'the wisdom of foolishness' will encourage today's young people to follow their dreams even when—maybe especially when—conventional wisdom sees their paths as dead ends."

In addition, the National Inventors Hall of Fame is bestowing posthumous recognition on a group of 29 historic inventors whose work in the last decades of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century provided a foundation for continued and future innovation. The group includes innovators such as Edwin Binney, who as co-owner of Binney & Smith manufactured carbon black and later became known for creating Crayola crayons.  Eugene Sullivan, who was head of research at Corning Glass Works, helped to develop the popular Pyrex® brand cookware through his work with borosilicate glass.  Mary Anderson invented a windshield clearing device, which evolved into the modern windshield wiper, and Albert Dick, founder of the A.B. Dick Company, invented duplicating equipment, including the mimeograph machine.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame annually accepts nominations for men and women whose work has changed society and improved the quality of life.  The candidate's invention must be covered by a United States patent, and the work must have had a major impact on society, the public welfare, and the progress of science and the useful arts.

About the Hall of Fame

The National Inventors Hall of Fame is the premier non-profit organization in America dedicated to honoring legendary inventors whose innovations and entrepreneurial endeavors have changed the world.  Founded in 1973 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the Hall of Fame has 460 Inductees with its 2011 Induction.   The National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum is located in the atrium of the Madison Building on the campus of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA.  Hall of Fame hours are Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday from Noon to 5 PM (closed Sundays and federal holidays). Admission is free.  For more information on the National Inventors Hall of Fame, including Inductee nomination forms and a full listing of Inductees, please visit

Edison Nation® and Inventors Digest are celebrating the official move to May of National Inventors Month with a roll out of product-submission opportunities and contests.

Edison Nation is an idea-to-shelf consumer product developer and social community for inventors. Throughout May, Edison Nation is offering one free submission of a patented or patent-pending idea for a current search hosted on Mattel®, Atomi (for The Sharper Image), and leaders from the As Seen On TV industry are currently hosting searches for new product ideas. In addition, Edison Nation features a $25 Million Innovation Fund that is actively seeking to invest in the development and licensing of new innovations.

As an original founder and lead agent in moving National Inventors Month, Inventors Digest is offering free subscriptions through contests on its Facebook page throughout May.

"Innovation is woven within our organizations' fabric," says Louis Foreman, co-founder of Edison Nation and publisher of Inventors Digest. "It's a privilege to be a part of this dynamic inventor community and offer a resource to those hoping to push the boundaries of innovation."

Senior Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) late Tuesday announced a Senate Resolution officially designating May 2011 as National Inventors Month.

August traditionally has been National Inventors Month. The move to May better aligns with the academic calendar, explained Inventors Digest Editor Mike Drummond.

"The move allows more opportunities for youth K-12 to become aware of the vital contributions inventors have made and continue to make to society," Drummond said, "as well as to more broadly celebrate and foster the spirit and practice of innovation."

In addition, the move coincides with the annual National Inventors Hall of Fame induction ceremony, held in Washington, D.C., each May. Tonight's induction features an address by David Kappos, director of the United States Patent & Trademark Office, and will celebrate the induction of groundbreaking inventors.

Edison Nation is an idea-to-shelf consumer product developer behind such products as Gyro Bowl, Emery Cat and Mister Steamy. Edison Nation operates an invention-centric multi-platform organization, including Everyday Edisons, an Emmy® award-winning series on public television now in production for Season 4, and the namesake Edison Nation sponsored idea search service that has brought to market dozens of products in over 25,000 stores nationwide through partnerships with leading retailers and manufacturers. Edison Nation was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.

Inventors Digest Magazine is the nation's longest-running publication and website for the inventing industry. Published monthly with daily web updates, Inventors Digest is the leading publication for inventors, intellectual property professionals, engineers and product developers.

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Published in Edison Nation

A 3-year-old child born without fingers on the dominant hand is able to use a pencil, thanks to a device created by a FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) team comprised of all girls, ages 11 to 13.  The device earned the team, known as the “Flying Monkeys,” the inaugural FIRST Global Innovation Award, presented by the X PRIZE Foundation.

FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, today announced the selection of the winning team and runner–up teams of the Global Innovation Award, presented by the X PRIZE Foundation. All three teams will participate in a private awards ceremony in June at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Va.

The Flying Monkeys, a Girl Scout team from Ames, Iowa, will receive up to $20,000 from the X PRIZE Foundation toward patenting their invention, called the BOB-1. The team submitted an idea for a multi-functional, cost-effective prosthetic hand device that would enable users with limb abnormalities to hold, grip, stabilize, or secure items. The BOB-1 prototype is currently in use by a 3-year-old child from Georgia.  

“The winning team’s working prototype, which is already improving the life of a young child, proves that FIRST participants are making the world a better place with their creative problem-solving skills,” said President of DEKA Research & Development and FIRST Founder Dean Kamen. “Now with the help of the X PRIZE Foundation and the USPTO, the Flying Monkeys will receive the kind of support needed so more people can benefit from their invention.”

The two runner-up teams for the Global Innovation Award are: “The 4th Motor” of East Troy, Wis., and the “Blue Gear Ticks” from Lincoln, Mass., whose real-world solutions target children with diabetes and congenital heart defects, respectively.

“Kids are natural innovators, and FIRST kids are offering solutions to some very big, real-world problems,” said FIRST President Jon Dudas. “We see incredible ideas and inventions every year from our FLL teams, and now we can encourage them to make their innovations available to the public.”

Presented by the X PRIZE Foundation, in collaboration with the USPTO, the award offers global FIRST LEGO League teams the opportunity to submit innovative solutions to real-world problems, stemming from a yearly FLL Challenge.  

In the award’s inaugural year, 179 submissions were voted upon by the public and then judged by an expert panel to determine the most patentable ideas. Close to 400,000 public votes were cast by nearly one million people who visited the award website from 145 countries.

“It is wonderful to see hundreds of children submitting ideas to the Global Innovation Award, all of whom aim to improve the lives of others,” said Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. “We are proud to be cultivating the innovation process at the earliest stages, and we are honored to support the winning team.”

The award submissions were based on the 2010 FLL BODY FORWARD® Challenge, which tasked FLL teams in more than 56 countries to explore the cutting-edge world of bio-engineering and discover innovation ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions, and maximize the body’s potential with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives.

“The fact that the Flying Monkeys’ prosthetic device is already in use by a young patient reflects its feasibility, usability, and public benefit,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “We are looking forward to hosting the winning teams and honoring them at the ceremony in June.”

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international program for 9 to 16 year-old children (9 to 14 in the U.S. and Canada) created in a partnership between FIRST and The LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology – and teach them valuable employment and life skills. Using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technologies and LEGO Education materials, children work alongside adult Coaches to design, build, and program autonomous robots and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project. After eight intense weeks, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments. Like any other organized “sport,” teams also fundraise, create a team identity, and participate in field trips.

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Published in FIRST

element14, a collaborative social community and electronics store for design engineers and electronics enthusiasts, and modding guru Benjamin J. Heckendorn, a.k.a. Ben Heck, help combat the spread of germs in hospital settings by modding a hand sanitizer dispenser into a motion detecting reminder system in the latest episode of “The Ben Heck Show.”

“Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers are great tools, but how do we know if people actually use them?” asked Ben. “This was a question submitted by one of our viewers and it turned into an interesting challenge for the show. I was able to mod an everyday hand sanitizer into an active tool to be used in the arsenal to fight the spread of infection in hospitals.”

The idea for the hand sanitizer build came from show fan and physician Arun Mathews, to help prevent hospital-acquired infections. Arun joined Ben to tackle the challenge on the show, building a dispenser featuring enhanced motion sensors, blinking LEDs and an amplifier, which gives hospital staff and patrons an audible reminder to wash their hands. Ben also integrated a parallax propeller development board and SD card to log motion detected data, and a clock to log the time of hand sanitization compliance or non-compliance.

“This episode offers something for everyone, from electronics enthusiasts to germaphobes,” said Alisha Mowbray, senior vice president of marketing, element14. “With his notorious DIY gusto, Ben takes his craft one step further, showcasing how modding a useful item can have a lasting impact in real-life scenarios.”

Ben rounds out the episode with some finishing touches on his much anticipated pinball machine, including installing the screen and ensuring that all three processors – audio, video, and central processing unit – are hooked up and fully functioning.

Show fans are invited to visit element14 to register for a chance to win one of Ben’s recent builds, submit videos of their own builds, or to send Ben a challenge for a future episode.

To watch the episode visit:

Published in element14

Nearly all Americans (95%) agree with President Obama's call for a "Sputnik Moment" during his State of the Union message – a return to innovation and invention as a way to spur the growth of the U.S. economy – according to a new scientifically valid poll from Edison Nation, the "idea-to-shelf" incubator behind such consumer-driven products as the Emery Cat, the Gyro Bowl and Mister Steamy.

The survey also finds that four in 10 Americans are already thinking like modern-day Thomas Edisons stating that they've had an idea for a new invention or concept for improving a product already in the marketplace.

Unfortunately, more than two-thirds (67%) never made a go of their idea. Merely nine percent of those aspiring inventors filed for a patent and only 14 percent contacted a manufacturer to discuss licensing or production.

Of those that did not attempt to make their invention or innovation a reality, more than half (51%) said it was because of a lack of money, connections, expertise or time.

Additionally, there appears to be an "innovation generation" among 25 – 34 year olds, with more than half (55%) stating that they have an idea for an invention or product improvement, a significant number in contrast to those 50-plus (39% for 50 – 64 & 33% for 65+).

This poll about U.S. invention was conducted in conjunction with the launch of the Edison Nation Innovation Fund, a source of financing for everyday Americans who have ideas – in any stage of development – for new product innovations and technologies.

"With the establishment of the Edison Nation Innovation Fund, it seemed vital to take a survey of Americans' own thoughts, feelings and pursuits when it comes to the inventive spirit," said Louis Foreman, CEO of Edison Nation. "It's particularly interesting to see that those people with ideas for new innovations were halted due to a lack of resources that our new fund and staff of world-class engineers, industrial designers, researchers, marketers, lawyers and U.S. Patent-holding inventors will be able to provide."

Beginning today, anyone with a great idea can log on to ( to register and submit his or her idea for Edison Nation Innovation Fund consideration.  This new initiative from Edison Nation will act as a private investment-style fund for new ideas and will invest up to $25 million in the development of new products or technologies in order to take ideas from concept to consumer.

Edison Nation is free to join. To celebrate the launch of the Fund, Edison Nation is providing an exclusive introductory submission cost of $25 per idea. Visit for more information.

The Edison Nation Innovation Fund is just one part of Edison Nation's invention-centric multi-platform organization, which includes the public television series entering into its 4th season Everyday Edisons; the 25-year old national magazine Inventors Digest; and the namesake Edison Nation sponsored idea search service which has brought dozens of products to market in over 25,000 stores nationwide through partnerships with leading retailers and manufacturers.

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted utilizing OmniTel, GfK's weekly national telephone Omnibus service. Each OmniTel study consists of 1,000 adults aged 18 or older (half men, half women). The sample is based on a random digit dialing (RDD) probability sample of all telephone households in the continental United States. The RDD sampling system guarantees an equal probability of selection for every household. All completed interviews are weighted to ensure accurate and reliable representation of the total population 18 years of age and older according to the latest census figures. Weighting factors include gender, age, education, ethnicity and region.

The results from this study were conducted February 11-13, 2011.  A total of 1,005 interviews were completed (481 males and 524 females). The margin of error for this study is plus/minus 3.0 percentage points and is higher for subgroups.

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Published in Edison Nation

InventHelp’s Invention and New Product Exposition (INPEX) is pleased to announce more than 200 consumer brands will be represented during private product searches at INPEX® 2011, America’s Largest Invention Trade Show. INPEX® will offer product searches to inventors from well known companies like SkyMall®, Tupperware®, Clorox®, Procter & Gamble, Church & Dwight, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., Reckitt Benckiser, Stanley Black & Decker, Schroeder & Tremayne Inc., Hampton Direct and OXO.

INPEX® will once again welcome inventors from across the United States and internationally, who will showcase inventions, new products and innovations available to license, market or manufacture. INPEX® will be held June 15-17, 2011.

Last year, more than one thousand companies utilized INPEX® as a venue to look for new and innovative products to add to their existing product lines.

“We are very excited to see many well-known companies at INPEX® such as Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and Stanley Black & Decker conducting product searches at the show. Together, these companies represent more than 200 national brands, the largest number to ever attend an invention show. Corporate America has never been more interested in inventions,” said Nicole Hait, Trade Show Director.

INPEX® will take place June 15-17, 2011 at the Monroeville Convention Center, just twenty minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. If you are an inventor and are interested in presenting your invention or new product to one of the above companies, please visit or call 888-54-INPEX to speak with one of our sales representatives. Don’t miss this opportunity to exhibit at America’s largest invention trade show.

Published in INPEX

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