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The Mother of Invention

Portraits of Inventors

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Wednesday, 03 August 2011
in The Mother of Invention

Teachable Moment: This blog collects images and stories of various modern inventors and provides a great insight into what leads people to invent.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. I’m interested in the rest of the family.

Alexander Graham Bell's Delightfully Weird Sketchbooks

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Thursday, 10 March 2011
in The Mother of Invention

Teachable Moment: It's fun to see how much his mind wandered and the breadth of his interests.

Go to the Library of Congress for the full sketchbooks

The Atlantic Article has a great selection of images from the sketchbooks.

From the Atlantic Article:

It was on March 10, 1876 that Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful telephone call. "'Mr. Watson--come here--I want to see you," he said to his assistant, who was in the next room. Bell recorded those early telephone experiments in his lab notebooks from the time, as he did with countless other experiments and ideas.

Tags: Engineering
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How searching through patents led to the invention of the magnetic tape drive

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Monday, 14 February 2011
in The Mother of Invention

Teachable Moment: The Lemelson-MIT Program on invention focuses on promoting invention but I really like the story of how Lemelson himself invented the mechanism that became ubiquitous in the Sony Walkman because he wanted to devise a better way to search patents. 

From the bio on the web site: "Lemelson first struck on the idea of using magnetic tape to store images when he and his wife were doing a manual search at the United States Patent Office. Frustrated by the daunting task, Lemelson began to think of ways to mechanize the system.

Tags: Engineering
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Biomimicry: How a seashell inspired the invention of the cochlear implant

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, 14 February 2011
in The Mother of Invention

Teachable Moment: This is a great example of how stepping away from a problem can often lead to novel solutions.  It can also be used to illustrate how working with a mock-up of the target can provide novel insights.

From the Cosmos Article: FOR 10 YEARS, Graeme Clark had been working tirelessly to develop an implant that would help the deaf to hear. The theory made sense. The electronics had been developed, and the design was near finalised.

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Radar -> Sputnik -> Serendipity -> GPS

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Wednesday, 12 January 2011
in The Mother of Invention

Teachable Moment:This TED video discusses the invention of the GPS as a perfect example of open innovative systems where "chance favors the connected mind".  I also like it because it provides a good example of how innovation can be as simple as merely the inversion of our thinking... in this case, one group of scientists had discovered how to track a moving object in space from a fixed point on the ground... and another one pushed them to think about tracking a moving object on the ground from a fixed point in space.

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