Friday, November 28, 2008

Improvement to the Horseshoe, 1909



Horseshoes may have first appeared early as 3500 B.C. In 910 there was the first written record of iron horseshoes.

Horseshoes were used for agricultural purposes on the horses that helped farm the land. Horseshoes were also used in wars-- horseshoes protected war horses' feet, and allowed them to kick and step on the enemy harder than horses without horseshoes.

Horses are shod for protection, traction, and to effect a therapeutic change in the way a horse moves. Horseshoes protect the horse’s hoof from wear. The horse’s hoof can be worn down from pavement or hard ground. By having a horseshoe on the horse’s hoof, the wear will be on the shoe, rather than on the horse’s hoof. If the hoof is worn down too much the animal could be unable to travel without soreness or pain.

On May 7, 1908, Patrick Brislin of Upper Lehigh, Pennsylvania, applied, and on March 2, 1909 he received United States Patent US0914015. The PDF of the document is here (register with www.FreePatentsOnline.com to see it; registration is free). It is, as he says in his filing--

"... an improvement in horseshoes, and has for its object the provision of a cushion shoe for draft animals of very simple and practical construction, which may be very readily and quickly applied, which will possess a great degree of resiliency, will be durable, and will give the animal a surer footing and protection from slipping."

A few decades later, in 1933, the patent system recorded yet more improvements in the horseshoe, as depicted below, but that's a subject for another day.



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Monday, November 24, 2008

Dean Kamen: 203 Patents

You know the Segway, pictured above, but it is just one of the inventions of the legendary Dean Kamen, who has this impressive set of 203 patents. Given that creative output, Kamen is in the Top 1% of all U.S. inventors in terms of production.

Born in 1951 in Rockville Centre, New York, Kamen attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute, but dropped out before graduating. His father was Jack Kamen, an illustrator of Mad Magazine, Weird Science and other EC Comics.

While Kamen is best known for his Segway, he is a hero to the disabled community, given his advancement of the wheelchair, making it highly mobile via his DEKA Research.




Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/: All the Inventions of Mankind.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Senior: Inventor Mike Flynt

Just finished reading The Senior, about Mike Flynt who played college football ... at 59.

Mike is also the man behind Franklin, TN-based Powerbase, and has an "Exercise Platform" design patent (D482748).

Here's an image from the patent, and the Powerbase in action:




And we hear The Senior may be made into a major motion picture.








Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/: All the Inventions of Mankind.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Edwin Land: 444 Patents

Edwin Herbert Land, an American physicist and inventor, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. While a freshman at Harvard University in 1926, he became intrigued by polarized light (light oriented in a plane with respect to the source). He left Harvard to develop a new kind of polarizer, which he called Polaroid, by aligning and embedding crystals in a plastic sheet.

Land went back to Harvard at the age of 19 but left again in his senior year to found a laboratory nearby. Joined by other young scientists, he applied the polarizing principle to light filters, optical devices, and motion picture processes.


In 1937 the group became the Polaroid Corporation with Land as president and head of research. During World War II the corporation focused on military tasks, inventing infrared filters, dark-adaptation goggles, and target finders. In the late 1940s it introduced the first model of its most successful product, the self-developing Polaroid Land camera; it also put out a microscope for viewing living cells in natural color. Mr. Land sits atop 444 patents. And given this volume of inventions, he is in the Top 1% of all U.S. inventors.




Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/: All the Inventions of Mankind.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gustaf Doragrip's Leaf Blower



It's fall, which means the sound of ... leaf blowers.

You have Gustaf Doragrip to thank, for U.S. Patent 6324721:

A portable leaf blower having a fan unit with a fan and a combustion engine for driving the fan. The fan unit is arranged in a shell provided with a lower inlet opening through which air, during operation, flows to the fan. The shell is further provided with an upper opening. When the engine has been cut off, air for cooling the engine flows through the shell by means of self convection from the lower inlet opening to the upper opening.

The company behind it? Stockholm-based Electrolux.




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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chuck Hoberman & Transforming Puzzles


Meet NYC's prolific Chuck Hoberman (25 patents).

From John Seabrook's 2003 article "Child's Play"--

Seventeen years ago, Chuck Hoberman was a kinetic sculptor, with a degree in fine art from Cooper Union and a degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. He and his wife, Carolyn, who was also an artist, lived in a seventh-floor walkup just below Canal Street, in a dilapidated building with a sign outside that said, "Gentleman-Please Do Not Urinate on the Door. It Is Unsanitary." Chuck was interested in transformations-mechanical objects that could change their size without changing their shape. "I was obsessed with the idea of making objects disappear," he told me. "Not as a magic trick, but where the object could self-transform-change itself by itself." He tried to imagine a scissors hinge, like those you see in old-fashioned elevator doors, except in three dimensions, so that the structure could expand into a dome or a sphere. What would the geometry of such a structure look like? Early in the morning, before going off to his job at an engineering firm, Chuck would sit in his "study" (created by hanging a sheet between the desk and the bed), folding pieces of paper into triangles, pentagons, and polyhedrons. He worked on the problem for several years, but he made no progress.

Flash forward to today; Chuck and his wife have Hoberman Associates ("Transformable Design").

Their best selling product has been the Hoberman Sphere:




Obtaining patents and marketing popular products-- anything but Child's Play.




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Monday, November 10, 2008

IPIX: Display of any portion of a spherical image


Consider Cohoes, NY-based IPIX.

Here's a sample of what they can do with their 360° camera shown above, for government and commercial applications camera-- click here.

And there are eight patents behind it. We're especially intrigued by their U.S. Patent #6795113:

Method and apparatus for the interactive display of any portion of a spherical image
Apparatus for interactive display of any portion of a spherical image preferably comprises a personal computer or other digital processor apparatus for storing digital data representative of at least one image having a 180 degree or greater field of view (or hemispherical image). In order to view a selected image portion without warp or distortion at the seam between opposite hemispherical images, edge filtering is applied to eliminate a halo effect. Moreover, an opposite hemispherical image may either be obtained by creating a mirror image of a first hemispherical image or by capturing a second hemispherical image by means of an oppositely directed camera and storing the digital image. Equations for image transformation are based on a lens' characteristics including the lens' radius R. An input interface preferably comprises a display including a magnification region and a directional cursor for pointing the direction to a next spherical image. “Hot spots” can be linked to audio, text, graphics, or other media or trigger a charge for a pay event or identify program links to the next spherical image.

It has five inventors listed, so we made this plaque to simply say "IPIX."


US PATENT




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Friday, November 7, 2008

Wozniak & Cloud9


How many patents does Apple, Inc. have? Answer: 2,711, they're here.

And what about Jobs versus Wozniak?

Steven P. Jobs has: 91.

And his Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak? Just 2. After Apple, Woz did the now defunct Cloud9, a maker of programmable, hand-held, universal remote controls.

From his patent (awarded 4/17/1990):

A remote control device is adapted to control a plurality of appliances such as televisions, VCRs, stereos, etc. The remote controller includes a first connector for mating with a plurality of transducer modules, so that the remote control device can be used to emit infrared, radio, or other signals. (In another embodiment, the remote control device includes a plurality of different transducers for providing a plurality of different types of control signals.) The remote control device includes a second connector for mating with a cradle. The cradle can receive signals from external source such as a telephone line. Thus, one can access the remote control device from a remote location and cause the remote control device to control selected appliances. The remote control device also includes a programmable timer so that various appliances can be turned on and off at selected times.



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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thomas Campana & the BlackBerry Case

You remember the BlackBerry patent case, right? Settled for $612.5 million.

The firm that owns the patents? Virginia-based NTP.

They have a total of 23 patents under the name NTP, Inc.

The key inventor is Thomas Campana, and this patent was one at the core of the dispute with Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of the BlackBerry:




Campana's expertise was about a form of wireless push email, invented in the 1990 timeframe. His technology solution was evaluated by AT&T but later dropped.

RIM developed a similar technology which they incorporated into their BlackBerry devices. Campana tried to license his patents to RIM, but they refused to pay a fee.

In order to enforce his patents, Campana, along with his attorney Donald Stout, formed NTP, as a patent holding company.

In 2006, after a long legal battle, Research in Motion settled the case and paid a $612.5 million license fee to cover not only their infringement, but the infringement of all of their customers and business affiliates.

Campana died from cancer at age 57, before the RIM case was settled.

Campana also invented a wireless location technology that helps parents find their kids. This new technology received first prize at the 1996 Consumer Electronics Show, but as yet has not seen broad commercialization.


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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tesla Motors


Tesla Motors, the Silicon Valley's darling in the clean-automotive industry, has these two patents (Ford has 8,311)--

Document
7433794 Mitigation of propagation of thermal runaway in a multi-cell battery pack

A method of mitigating propagation of a thermal event in an energy storage system having a plurality of cells is disclosed.


7404720 Electro mechanical connector for use in electrical applications

An electro mechanical connector for use in an electrical vehicle having a battery pack is disclosed.


The company recently laid off dozens of employees and announced the closing of its Detroit office. They have just about $9 million in the bank.

Reportedly the company has taken "multiple tens of millions" of dollars in deposits from customers — anywhere from $5,000 to $60,000 per vehicle — and has delivered about 50 of them to date.

Among Tesla’s investors include Silicon Valley luminaries like Paypal founder Elon Musk and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. On 10/15, Musk took over as CEO.







Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out www.freepatentsonline.com: All the Inventions of Mankind.