Posts Tagged: "inventors hall of fame"

Patent Subject Matter Eligibility 101

The patents discussed below are all landmark inventions and were conceived by inventors inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF). Would these ground-breaking inventions, that helped set the course of humanity, be patentable today? … The point is that at first blush it’s not readily clear whether these patents would be found subject matter eligible, demonstrating that the uncertainty created by the Supreme Court with respect to patent subject matter eligibility has few bounds – even impacting the most celebrated inventions of our most honored inventors… If we cannot determine with reasonable certainty how all of these inventions would fare if judged under recent Supreme Court case law, then no one can truly teach Patent Subject Matter Eligibility 101.

Mary Engle Pennington: The Mother of Modern Food Preservation

The preservation of food and beverage products for safe consumption despite extended shelf lives at grocery stores is a major global industry. Both consumers and companies have soon to be Hall of Fame member Mary Engle Pennington to thank… This May, Pennington will be honored along with the rest of the 2018 class of inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for her technological contributions to food storage and safety. With the anniversary of Pennington’s egg preservation patent upon us, we return again to our Evolution of Technology series to take a long view at the history of food storage and the contributions of this year’s Hall of Fame inductee, a pioneering scientist and the first female lab chief at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Howard S. Jones, Jr., Revolutionizes Long-Range Air Communications with Conformal Antennas

Thanks to the work of Howard S. Jones, Jr., one of the 2018 inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the United States was able to advance antenna technology in the latter part of the 20th century. Jones’ innovative work in developing conformal antennas has been crucial for the development of enabled enhanced capabilities for spacecraft, rockets and other aeronautical technologies. This March 1st marks the 41st anniversary of the issuance of the U.S. patent for which Jones has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Today, we return to our Evolution of Technology series to explore the early development of antennas and see how Jones was able to make a great step forward in improving our nation’s defense systems.

Spandex Patent Lands Inventor Joseph Shivers in the HOF

The synthetic elastic fiber known as spandex, a name which comes from an anagram of ‘expands,’ is used in a wide range of clothing and apparel from sportswear to casual clothing to undergarments. Spandex also has applications in medical dressings such as diapers and bandages… This Tuesday, February 27th, marks the 56th anniversary of the issue of the original spandex patent. The inventor of spandex, Joseph C. Shivers, Jr., is a 2018 inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame… His induction to the National Inventors Hall of Fame comes posthumously, but modern society continues to reap the benefits of Shivers’ inability to let go of a problem many years ago.

Earle Dickson Invents Band-Aid® Bandages to Promote Healing

December 28 marks the anniversary of the issuance of a patent covering a bandage technology commonly known as the Band-Aid®, invented at Johnson & Johnson… In order to speed up the process of tending to his wife’s cuts and nicks, Dickson came to the idea of preparing a length of adhesive tape with sections of gauze, allowing Josephine to snip off a strip of tape and quickly apply the adhesive bandage. When the couple considered how useful such a product might be in households across the country, Earle brought the idea to his boss James Wood Johnson, another one of the three co-founding brothers of J&J. Band-Aid® brand adhesive bandages first hit the consumer market in 1920.

Content Delivery Networks: Dan Lewin and Tom Leighton solve the “World Wide Wait”

Content delivery networks (CDNs), distributed networks involving proxy servers and data centers to provide high availability of content, are becoming increasingly valuable as Internet users continue to demand instant access to files or streaming media… Currently, the world’s largest CDN is Akamai, a CDN and cloud services provider based in Cambridge, MA, which operates 216,000 servers across 120 countries and within more than 1,500 networks to deliver up to 30 percent of Internet traffic worldwide. The success of Akamai’s business is largely based on the foundation of an innovative leap in Internet architecture developed by a professor and a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Both Tom Leighton and Daniel Lewin are members of the 2017 class inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Today, August 22nd, marks the 17th anniversary of the issue of the patent for which Leighton and Lewin have been recognized as major pioneers in the field of CDNs. The work of both of these innovators continues to serve as a basis for perhaps the most successful firm in the CDN space currently.

Evolution of Gas Sensors: Beatrice Hicks creates device to measure gas in critical industrial applications

Inventor, Beatrice Hicks, is both a 2017 inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame as well as one of America’s truly trailblazing women engineers, one of the first to enter the field of technological development in the mid-20th century. Hicks would go on to become instrumental in the founding of the Society of Women Engineers and her story is a wonderful reminder of the power of both a good education and the ability to believe in one’s self… Hicks’ major innovation in gas sensor tech is outlined by U.S. Patent No. 3046369, titled Device for Sensing Gas Density and issued July 24th, 1962. It claimed, in a density system, a chamber containing gas, a hollow case with an interior cavity in communication with the chamber, a sealed expansible and contractible bellows mounted within the hollow case and in communication with gas contained in the chamber, and an actuating portion to actuate an output means when the bellows moves to a critical position in response to the pressure-versus-temperature function of the gas.

Evolution of Industrial Lasers: Persistence of Marshall Jones leads to revolutionary changes in additive manufacturing

The innovative work of Jones that led to his induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame is on display in U.S. Patent No. 4676586, titled Apparatus and Method for Performing Laser Material Processing Through a Fiber Optic. Issued on June 30th, 1987, the patent protected an improved method of delivering laser energy to perform metal processing by generating a near infrared or visible wavelength pulsed laser beam, providing a single fiber optic with a quartz core having a diameter of less than 1,000 micrometers as well as cladding and protective shielding for the core end, focusing the laser beam onto the end of the core on a small spot with a diameter less than the core diameter at an including angle of less than 24°, coupling the beam into the fiber optic through air-core and core-cladding zones to transmit energy with a peak power in the kilowatt range, and then focusing the laser beam emerging from the fiber optic onto a workpiece at a power density sufficient for metal processing. The invention resulted in a laser beam delivery system with minimal optical losses and improved freedom of laser beam manipulation capable of being robotically controlled.

Evolution of Tech: Iver Anderson gets the lead out of electronics solder

Soldering, the process by which two items are joined together by melting a filler metal with a low melting point and pouring liquid metal onto the joint, is a process which is used in many important metalworking processes today, from manufacturing electronics to installing plumbing pipes. Evidence of primitive soldering techniques, however, extend back thousands of years to sites from ancient Mesopotamia.

Evolution of Drywall: Augustine Sackett’s gypsum board now used in 97% of new home construction

May 22nd, marked the 123rd anniversary of the issue of an early and important patent covering a drywall product for building construction. Its inventor, American-born Augustine Sackett, was a 2017 inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. With the anniversary of the issue of this seminal patent in the field of building construction upon us, we’ll take a look back today at the history of gypsum use across the world and how Sackett’s innovation completely changed the American home building industry.

Evolution of the Transistor: Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain discover foundation of modern electronics in 1947

One of the foundational elements of all electronic devices today is the transistor, a semiconductor device including three terminals which is capable of amplifying an electric current or voltage which is applied to one of the terminals and output through another terminal. It’s no understatement to say that modern electronic devices couldn’t function without a component that can process electrical signals in the manner accomplished by a transistor. Yesterday’s transistors have largely been replaced by today’s integrated circuits, which are capable of much more complex processing of electrical signals, but the discovery of the transistor was a huge turning point in the electronics industry of the mid-20th century… April 4th marks the 67th anniversary of the issue date for one of two patents for which this trio of innovators has been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Evolution of Non-Volatile Memory: Eli Harari’s system level floating EEPROM revolutionized solid-state memory

A recent market research report from consulting firm MarketsandMarkets predicts that the global market for all forms of non-volatile memory, including flash, embedded and many other forms of memory, will increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.96 between 2016 and 2022, when the entire sector is expected to be worth $81.51 billion USD. This Wednesday, March 22nd, gives us an opportunity to chronicle an important anniversary in the development of one seminal form of non-volatile memory. Some 23 years ago, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a patent for a flash electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) technology invented by Eli Harari, a 2017 inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and a co-founder of the American flash storage developer SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK).

Allene Jeanes, HOF class of 2017, discovered life-saving dextran and food-thickening xanthan gum

65 years ago today, American chemical researcher Allene Jeanes was issued a patent for a polysaccharide innovation which had major implications for the U.S. military, helping to save the lives of soldiers injured on the front lines of the Korean War… If this were the only contribution made by Jeanes to the body of chemical science and engineering knowledge, that might well have been enough to inclusion in the National Inventors Hall of Fame. However, Jeanes is also the pioneer behind another chemical innovation involving polysaccharides, discovering an emulsifier and food stabilizer — Xanthan Gum — which is found in the ingredient list of a great deal of processed foods available in grocery stores today.

Thomas E. Murray: The Inventor who powered New York City

American inventor and businessman Thomas E. Murray is the pioneer behind many of the foundational elements of the modern day electrical grid, from the design of power plants that produced electricity and distributed it efficiently to insulated electrical cable to electric fuse boxes… Murray is also the great grandfather of Hilary Geary Ross — the wife of soon to be Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Perhaps a tenuous (or maybe fortuitous) connection to the man who will soon be in charge of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (an agency of the Commerce Department), but when we started reading about the significant contributions made byMurray we decided we had to profile this giant of American innovation.

Evo of Tech: B. The insulated gate bipolar transistor has improved U.S. electrical efficiency by 40 percent

Sunday, November 6th marks the 26th anniversary of the first U.S. patent issued to Baliga for which he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. U.S. Patent No. 4969028, which is titled Gate Enhanced Rectifier. It claimed a gate-controlled semiconductor power device having a body of semiconductor material with regions of opposing types of conductivity forming a p-n junction, two power electrodes disposed in ohmic contact with different regions of the semiconductor material, an insulated gate electrode disposed on a surface to control the conduction of opposite type conductivity carriers in a channel to either induce an opposite conductivity or repress the channel’s conductivity. The resulting semiconductor device achieves both forward and reverse blocking capability and can be switched on and off with a low power requirement.