Logging – So Easy an Environmentalist Could Do It

January 29th, 2008

The solution to the bitter war between environmentalists and the logging industry might have finally been realized with a creative innovation from Canada-based Triton Logging Inc. Their new underwater saw capitalizes on the 45,000 forgotten forests that have been drowned through the damming of reservoirs to produce hydroelectric power all over the world.The saw, aptly named the Sawfish, is the first fully submersible saw that can dive up to 1,000 feet underwater, making it a valuable resource in the harvest of about 300 million trees that were previously unreachable. According to a feature on the Sawfish on NBC’s “Today” show, the device provides a ‘green’ alternative for Triton Logging to avoid the many common problems that come along with deforestation in conventional logging. These problems include acceleration of soil erosion, disruption of animal habitats and clear cutting of trees that absorb the carbon dioxide fueling global warming.

Not only does the Sawfish provide an environmentally friendly alternative to on-land clear cutting and deforestation, it does not harm the lake in which it is used. It never touches the bottom of the lake or disturbs the soil. Additionally, according to a “Fox News” report, water readings taken before and after a harvesting project have shown no elevated levels of toxins. This is vital in proving the environmental integrity of the product and its true contributions to the industry.

While the Sawfish’s environmental merits are extremely important, its creative operational elements also deserve discussion. Triton uses maps to determine the location of underwater forests to which they will bring the unmanned Sawfish. The Sawfish is then tethered to a barge from which an operator maneuvers the device. The saw is equipped with eight cameras and SONAR technology that allow the operator to effectively locate target trees.

The actual process of collecting the trees is relatively straightforward. “The remote-controlled Sawfish clamps onto a tree with its five-foot-long pincers, attaches inflatable airbags, and chews through the trunk in seconds with a 54-inch blade,” said Popular Science magazine. The attached airbags pull the logs to the surface for easy retrieval.

A legitimate concern for many interested in purchasing and using this new timber is the quality of the wood itself. Many of these trees have been underwater for decades and one would assume that there must be some amount of damage or decay in this timber. The truth is, said the “Today” show, that the combination of cold water and little oxygen exposure actually acts as a preservative. Aside from increased drying time before cutting, there is little difference between this wood and conventional wood.

Because of the obvious environmental advantages of using this timber, there looks to be a significant market for it. Despite its higher cost, the benefits outweigh the price for many people. Many “green” builders will undoubtedly want to incorporate it into their building plans; ecologically aware consumers will definitely appreciate the use of salvaged wood in homes they purchase. According to The Wall Street Journal, the wood will also be marketed as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional wood at home-improvement stores for those wishing to use it on an individual basis. Concerned consumers will without doubt feel more comfortable using wood they know came from a “green” source.

The market for these 300 million sunken trees will certainly be a significant one, with early profit estimates at around $50 billion. This is a remarkable number considering that these trees were almost unrecoverable and lost forever.

The ideals of lumber companies and environmental groups have begun to mesh with this new innovation from Triton Logging. With the days upon us of increased interest and concern with global warming and the way we treat our planet, a compromise has to be made. We need to realize what is in the true best interests of society as a whole and think more seriously about where we can make compromises that are agreeable to everyone. The introduction of environmentally friendly technology like the Sawfish is critical in these compromises.

John Gerbich is the Staff Writer for IdeaBuyer.com, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. Visit the site by clicking here > Patents for Sale.

Product Development and Design

January 22nd, 2008

product development and designDeveloping a product is when the rubber meets the road, when theory meets practice, when ideas become real. While it would be impossible for any one article to give a blow-by-blow list of specific steps for making every kind of product imaginable, there are some definite principles that can and should be followed. Doing so ensures that your product development efforts result in something far more likely to succeed on the open marketplace.

With that being said, let’s dive in!

Do not get overly attached to your original conception.

Some inventors make the mistake of worshiping their original idea for what the product will look like when it is done. Many do this because they are afraid of becoming like entrepreneurs on the other extreme of the product development spectrum: those who never make any progress because they keep junking the product and starting from scratch. In fact, both of these approaches are wrong. The key to successful product development is to hold true to your idea without being so rigid that you refuse to make rational changes.

For example, let us say you are developing a new kind of water filtration system that is going to put the existing models to shame with its never-before-seen, super-accurate and top-secret filtration technology. In conceiving this new filter, you have decided to make it as an add-on to the sink faucet. That is, it will attach to the faucet and automatically filter water when someone turns it on. But let’s say you come across a questionnaire or focus group. It says that faucet filter sales have been in decline for two years. However, it shows consumers are quire enthusiastic about pitchers that will filter the water they pour into it.

If you are a smart product developer, you will strongly consider adapting your incredible new technology to this method. Refusing to acknowledge this trend and make anything other than what you originally thought of is the kind of stubbornness that kills otherwise great products. Do not let that become your story!


Set realistic deadlines for yourself and adhere to them.

Without deadlines, product development can devolve into endless “do-overs” and “back to the drawing board” sessions that become little more than a sinkhole of wasted time. Of course, a certain amount of mistake and retries are to be expected when developing a product. Trying to eliminate all of them would be impossible. Instead, the goal is to set reasonable deadlines for yourself.

If you are vexed by a particular problem, give yourself a set amount of time to solve it before moving on to the next issue. If you cannot resolve the problem in that amount of time, make a judgment call. Will a few more days suffice? Or is this something you should put on the back burner while you satisfy other pressing demands of developing the product? Prioritizing is key, and learning to do so will be an incalculable benefit to you. It will give your progress a sense of physical reality and keep you anchored to a plan.

Of course, your ultimate deadline should be one for completion: when do you hope to have the product developed by? Impose a deadline on yourself even if there isn’t one. The sooner your product is developed, the faster you can get it to market and begin reaping the fruits of your labor.


Get feedback from those outside your family and friends.

As you develop the product, show it to people at various stages. Collect feedback from them on what they like, what they do not like, and what they would like to see instead. Many inventors forgo this valuable feedback loop because they fear that sense of rejection. No one likes to hear that what they have worked on for months might not be so great after all.

So rather than seek the cleansing of truth, many inventors simply hypothesize to themselves about what people would think about the product. This is completely insufficient. Instead, your goal should be exposing your product to as much critical scrutiny as possible. This means to look outside your family and friends. While they are often concerned first and foremost with not hurting your feelings, outsiders will often be quite blunt about what you should do differently. Far from being a bad thing, this is actually invaluable.

If you show your product at various stages to say 20 people, and 14 of them make the same suggestion that you never thought of, that is an enormous help. You can be reasonably sure that this suggestion is something the people in your market would want as well.

To develop a product, you need to walk the tightrope of maintaining your vision while also respecting reality. By keeping an active mind, you will only strengthen your product and increase its chances for success.

Eric Corl is the Founder and CEO of IdeaBuyer.com, a marketplace for new technology and products that gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. You can email him at EricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com.

Sun Safety Has Never Been So Easy

January 14th, 2008

It is no secret that unprotected, repeated overexposure to the sun will cause skin cancer. More than that, daily exposure to ultraviolet light will cause premature aging and wrinkles. Despite these undeniable facts, many people refuse to easily prevent these problems by following the simple routine of applying sunscreen when they go outdoors; people are constantly putting themselves at risk for serious health problems. With the introduction of an invention from Aquea Scientific, the daily application of sunscreen will be something that is already a part of your daily routine.

California-based research company Aquea Scientific’s flagship product, Aquea SPF, has taken off in the field of cosmeceuticals. This multi-patented creation blends, for the first time, the importance of applying sunscreen with the ease and necessity of taking a shower or washing your face. Through their ground-breaking product they have formulated a way to introduce their sunscreen formula into ordinary body wash, soap, shampoo and facial cleanser. According to the Aquea Web site, it is all-day protection ranging from SPF 2 to SPF 15+, depending on the formula.

Additionally, the introduction of Aquea SPF to soap, according to the Aquea Web site, does not reduce the lathering qualities or functionality of the original product. It does not leave the greasy or oily film that results from the use of many common sunscreens either. This makes the product not only more convenient, but more manageable than traditional sunscreens.

The secret to the functionality of this innovative technology lies in its creative formula and is as easy to understand as the attraction between negative and positive charges. According to a feature on the product in Popular Science Magazine, “Aquea Scientific encapsulates (Aquea SPF) in tiny silica shells and bombards them with protons, giving the silica a positive charge that helps it cling to negatively charged skin.” This positive/negative attraction allows the product to stay attached to the skin through washing and drying. The technology in this formula is referred to as “Wash-On” by Aquea. A visual representation of the science behind the formula’s function can be found on the Popular Science Web site.

Since Aquea does not manufacture soaps or shampoos, they must offer their product to a company that can use their Aquea SPF as an additive for efficient UV protection. The first company to do so was Freeze 24-7 for use in their Ice Shield facial cleanser, offering SPF 15 protection. Freeze has marketed their product highlighting the UVA anti-wrinkle and anti-aging properties of the Aquea technology.

Aquea SPF has been acknowledged as a significant development in the field of cosmeceuticals. With the initial introduction of the product in 2006, the company was recognized by Health and Beauty America and Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine with the Best New Technology award. That was a considerable achievement for a company if its size. “For Ventura‘s Aquea Scientific, a private company with about 10 employees, taking the award was equivalent to a small independent film grabbing that Oscar,” said an article in the Ventura County Star newspaper. Further, Popular Science has included Aquea SPF in their Best of What’s New 2007 awards. They were recognized as the grand award winner in the personal health category.

The Wash-On technology used to attach sunscreen to the body through charged particles is not limited to the Aquea SPF sunscreen. It can be used for a variety of active ingredients that are inconvenient to apply regularly, including insect repellent, anti-aging products and anti-acne medications. According to the Wash-On technology Web site, plans are in the works to expand their offerings beyond sunscreen. The future of a Wash-On line of products is extremely promising.

Aquea SPF has been an exceptionally important advancement in cosmeceutical science. Aquea Scientific has employed creative innovation and science to produce a product that appeals to many people looking for quick, easy access to healthy living. The modern world’s obsession with convenience will undoubtedly drive the technology forward.

This article is provided for your personal use by http://www.IdeaBuyer.com. Idea Buyer is the online marketplace for intellectual property and gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and retailers who are looking for new products to bring to market.

Please do not redistribute or reproduce this article without written permission.

John Gerbich is the Staff Writer for IdeaBuyer.com, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. Visit the site by clicking here > Patents for Sale.

Chinese Intellectual Property Violations

January 4th, 2008

If you are looking to manufacture your product in China, beware. It seems that no matter where you turn, opportunistic Chinese companies are flat-out stealing intellectual property from American companies, be it in the form of designs, processes, algorithms, and even entire products. In this article we will share several examples of well known products being blatantly copied and explore the rising tide of intellectual property violations being made by Chinese companies.

One prime example of Chinese intellectual property theft is a device called the miniOne. To the naked eye, the miniOne looks identical to the popular new iPhone from Apple, right down to the smooth button-less interface. However, the miniOne offers some things the iPhone does not. It runs popular mobile software that the iPhone will not support, in addition to being compatible with every worldwide wireless provider and not just AT&T. As if that were not enough, the miniOne promises to cost half as much as the iPhone and be available to 10 times as many customers.

Now, the troubling aspect of all this is not the additional capabilities this Chinese company is seeking to add. On the contrary, these are all welcome additions to the sphere of wireless technology. The problematic element is simply the wholesale theft of the iPhone\’s design and aesthetic properties, the “grifting” of its style, and applying it to a separate product as though it were their own.

But the intellectual property violations do not stop at iPhone clones. Vehicles are another prime target for cloning and cheap resale by Chinese entrepreneurs. Take the Laibao, for example. It’s a small SUV that would pass to any casual observer for a Honda CR-V. Indeed, many in the automotive industry speculate that the engineers at Laibao simply copied the CR-V, virtually part for part, in creating their own car. Or take the Geely Meerie, a carbon copy of a Mercedes C-Class. All the style and sophistication of Mercedes for a fraction of the price: 120,000 yuan, or $15,000 US dollars to be exact.

However, the problem of cloned vehicles is made most clear by the “sweet spot” of the Chinese market; vehicles that sell for around $5,000, which is just a bit shy of the typical middle class Chinese family\’s income. When it comes to this segment of the market, the Chery QQ is top, front, and center.

The QQ is a part-for-part clone of a car known either as the Daewoo Matiz or the Chevy Spark. (The actual car is a joint venture between General Motors and the Korean company Daewoo.) In fact, Sparks are sold worldwide. In the United States, an upgraded $10,500 version called the Aveo is cheaper than any other car available. This helps explain the astonishment of American officials when the rock-bottom priced $5,000 QQ first surfaced on the marketplace in 2003. The shock and awe of Congressman James Sensenbrenner (Wisconsin) after a 2004 jaunt to China sums it up:

“If you didn’t have name tags on the cars, you couldn\’t tell them apart. It’s such a good knockoff that you can pull the door off the Spark and it fits on the QQ, so close that the doors match right up.”

Clearly, the complete and shameless cloning of other companies’ products for cheap resale is an alarming problem in the IP community. To understand all the developments that led up to the present state, it helps to analyze the history of IP theft in China. In fact, the problem evolved through several distinct stages on its path to today’s frightening condition.

Chinese industry did not become capable of piece-by-piece cloning overnight. Far from it. A report from consulting firm A.T. Kearney segments the growth of China\’s clowning prowess into five separate periods. The first period was the 1980\’s, marked by primitive, fragmented efforts to produce cheap textile knockoffs like t-shirts. Few were alarmed at this point because the violations in question were trivial. The second period ocured during the 1990\’s. Clothing and accessories were the primary focus of this period as well, but with a twist: high-quality merchandise fakes from Reebok and Nike began to flood the market and gain acceptance by budget-minded westerners. By the mid-90’s, Chinese copycats had moved from simple trademark infringement to low-end tech wares: things like Duracell batteries and DVDs.

From this springboard, says the study, an era of “advanced technology piracy” was launched. Difficult-to-detect knockoffs of Callaway golf clubs, counterfeit auto safety class, and other products appeared beginning in 1998. And by the new millennium, Chinese piracy had become so adept at cloning that they successfully duplicated Intel computer chips, Viagra sex tablets and Bosch power tools.

One practical way that Chinese cloners go about their actions is using “ghost shifts.” That is, a factory contracted out to make authentic goods moves to a 24 hour operation, during which it pumps out copies. Some may be made with inferior materials, others are made properly, but all are destined for sale on the black market: from midnight until morning. The only problem with ghost shifts was that they could not run full time. To solve this problem, developers began in the mid 90’s to build shadow factories – entire plants identical in composition and function to the original, often created from the very same blueprints that actual manufacturers used to launch. Using these and other tactics, the Chinese are literally siphoning American brainpower and innovation into their own pockets by way of making cheap knockoffs.

Clearly, this is a serious problem that anyone involved in intellectual property would do well to be mindful of. Chinese IP violations could create a whole host of adverse incentives for inventors if the problem is not addressed.

Luckily, there are still reliable Chinese Manufacturer representatives out there that can help inventors and companies take advantage of the pricing benefits that Chinese manufacturing can offer. However, be sure to conduct due dilligence to protect yourself from predatory manufacturers. Request references from their current clients and ensure that all of your proper documentation is in place. Ideally, try to find an American manufacturing representative (US Citizenship) that is on site in China. This typically reduces much of the friction in doing business overseas.

Eric Corl is the President of Idea Buyer LLC, a new product development company that operates IdeaBuyer.com, marketplace for new technology and products that gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, investors, and manufacturers. You can email him atEricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com. You can visit the site by clicking here >New Technology and Products, Patents for Sale

Selling Your Patent

January 4th, 2008

A Simple Guide to Selling Your Patent, Selling a Patent, Sell a Patent

Selling Your Patent Selling a patent can be a great way to turn stagnant but valuable intellectual property into cash. Selling a patent is a great option for those who don’t necessarily have the resources to bring a product to market themselves yet can show the potential the patent would have if produced and marketed. This article discusses how to increase your chances of selling your patent and provides a basic education on the subject.

Selling A Patent: Critical Elements

To sell a patent, it is critical that one can demonstrate that it is valubale, that potential customers are interested in it, and have an idea of how much they want to receive in exchange for the patent. It is also critical that the patent is presented for sale to companies in a professional manner and for what it is; a business opportunity. While selling a patent can get complicated, that is a good problem to have. The key is to market your patent as much as possible and get interested parties to the table. It is better to fire and then aim rather than get locked into paralysis analysis. If companies do not know about your patent, they cannot make you an offer or plan on putting the product into their product line. Get out there and do what it takes to reach companies.

Selling Your Patent: Sacrifices

That said, there are some potential drawbacks to selling. After all, what if it becomes a huge hit? More concretely, what if you sell your patent for $100,000 and it generates $10,000,000 in profits for the new owner? This is a very real possibility that you must reckon with before selling. For many people, this possibility is enough to scare them (irrationally) into rejecting perfectly good offers and holding onto their patent indefinitely. However, you can and should make this decision intelligently. Think long and hard about your idea. Is it so innovative, so groundbreaking, so over-the-top revolutionary that it is going to redefine an industry? Or are there similar products out there for sale already? In the former case, you might want to hold on to your idea or hold out for a higher sum. In the latter case, however, you need to realize that as the intellectual property ages it could become worth less money and you could be missing out on big opportunities. Our recommendation is to also consider licensing if you are interested in future profits (There are many companies that are open to licensing as it provides less up front cash and puts some of the risk on the patent owner. Licensing your patent grants exploitation rights to a licensee in exchange for royalties and performance options to ensure the licensee acts to make the patent a success for you. For a more in-depth explanation of patent licensing, see our article on the subject.)

Selling Your Patent: Making the Pitch

How do you actually go about selling a patent? Several options exist, and you should choose the one that best matches your strengths and resources. One way to sell your patent is through direct contact. While working with personal contacts is ideal, many patent holders do not have the network to be personally introduced to executives. When you do make contact with a firm, you want to present yourself as a business man or woman (I.E.- Product Developer, Founder, etc), not a mere inventor. This exudes an air of professionalism that established companies prefer. Then, request a face-to-face meeting with a Sales Manager or Product Manager within the company. Now, a word of caution is in order. You only want to schedule such a meeting if and when you have secured a patent for your idea. Otherwise, you have to ask the company to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements which they are unlikely to sign for standard business reasons. Therefore, a patent is your best (and often, only) means of selling your patent through direct contact methods. Here, you will encounter companies or people interested in your product and potentially buying it.

Selling Your Patent: Focus on Generating Interest

If you have secured the patent already, you are in prime position to market it to interested parties and evaluate potential buyers in your quest to profit from your labor. You can create a listing on our website in less than 10 minutes and immediately expand your network to thousands of companies that are looking for innovative new products to license or purchase in their industry.
Eric Corl is the Founder and CEO of IdeaBuyer.com, the online marketplace for intellectual property. The site helps innovators generate interest among consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. You can email him at EricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com. You can visit the site by clicking here > Patents for Sale.

Top 10 Inventions of 2007

December 28th, 2007

Top Inventions The year 2007 saw a number of groundbreaking inventions from many sectors. Medical technology, personal communication, sports safety, energy saving breakthroughs, and other gadgetry saw huge advances throughout the year. However, some inventions simply outshine the rest of the pack and deserve higher mention. In this article, we will examine the top 10 inventions of 2007 and what makes them a cut above the rest!

1) Air conditioner that controls “superbugs”

The Kunne air conditioning system is a tremendous breakthrough in climate control: the first ever AC that controls both heat and humidity! By controlling both of these elements, buildings such as hospitals can regulate the flow of viruses, mold, and germs in the air. This will, in theory, help prevent such buildings from becoming “sick buildings” where people get sick simply by working there or visiting. If the Kunne system becomes widespread, the days of catching “that bug that’s been going around” might become a thing if the past!

2) Electro Needle Biomedical Sensor Array

Tired of sticking needles into your flesh just to run a blood test? With the electro needle biomedical sensor array, this painstaking task might not be necessary for much longer. It is a small patch of a device that contains electro-chemically treated probes. When it gets applied to a patient’s skin, the probes perform an astonishingly accurate determination of chemical readings in the patent’s bloodstream without having to withdraw any actual blood. In this way, a patient’s electrolytes, toxins, carbohydrates, proteins, bacteria, and even viruses can be spotted without a single needle, all through this one patch. This patch could spell a whole new era in disease prevention, as those who refuse to get needle tests out of fear no longer have an excuse to avoid those annual checkups!

3) Diesel Exhaust Purification System

In these environmentally conscious times, it seems that everyone is looking for ways to protect the environment and lower pollution. This is exactly what Raymond Covit, a Los Angeles mechanic, did with his diesel exhaust purification system. This incredible invention forces diesel engines to re-breathe their own exhaust fumes, a drastic change from the engines of today which simply spew their fumes into the air we breathe. If Covit’s system catches on, we can expect a significant reduction in vehicle-based air pollution, not to mention those hideous black clouds we see pumping into the air during our morning commute. That’s something we can all be happy about!

4) Sports safety clothing that hardens on impact

The Dow Corning Active Protection System (named after its creator) is a new type of clothing material for athletes and bikers. The clothing is soft and flexible in the normal course of events, but contains a never-before-seen security feature: the clothes harden and become rigid upon any type of hard impact! This protects the wearer in the event of nasty falls and collisions, during which their clothes will protect any skin that is covered by them. Best of all, the material bounces back to its regular, flexible consistency after you are out of harm’s way and is completely washing machine safe. Anyone involved in extreme sports like skateboarding, BMX bikes, rock crawling, or rugby may soon find that these clothes are the standard apparel!

5) Organic light-emitting diode

Organic light-emitting diodes (or OLEDs) are said to have the potential to change the way we light our homes and design clothing. OLEDs are simply thin strips of plastic with the ability to conduct electricity and harness solar power for later use. The applications of this technology are virtually limitless, such as changing the color of clothing. Another novel use (no doubt suggested by the owner of a sports bar) is OLED strips on beer cans that display up-to-the-minute sports scores. The best part is that OLEDs are significantly more energy efficient than today’s light bulbs, paving the way for guilt-free innovation and lighting possibilities!

6) Steam-O-Lene Engine

Enraged over high gas prices and wasteful engines, Bruce Crower decided that it would be more productive to do something about it than complain about it. The result? The fascinating Steam-O-Lene engine that makes more efficient use of steam to squeeze more life out of every gas tank. While the typical engine wastes ¾ of its energy in the form of heart, Crower’s engine (a single-cylinder diesel with 8HP) uses that heat to create steam, thus recapturing some of that precious lost energy. It runs much the same way that conventional four-stroke combustion engines do, but just as the Steam-O-Lene finishes the fourth stroke, water is squirted into the 1,500 degree cylinder. This intense heat and the ensuing reaction of the water creates steam, which generates a 1,600-fold expansion in volume and drives a piston down to create some more power.

The end result is more of that lost heat being converted to power strokes that actually move the car forward instead of evaporating into nothingness.

7) The Green Brick

While clay bricks have become a fixture in American construction, inventor Henry Liu has a new vision: a green brick. His brick is made entirely of fly ash, which is a major waste product of coal power plants that simply sits in a landfill after it is produced. And rather than solidifying under extreme heat like regular bricks do, the green brick forms under pressure. This saves a considerable amount of energy and costs some 20% less, which puts a smile on manufacturers’ faces. They are even desirable from a construction standpoint because the way they are molded leads to smoother, more uniform surfaces that slash precious time off of the bricklaying process.

8) StarChase Pursuit Management System

If you were planning on orchestrating a heart-pumping police chase anytime soon, this device might give you reason to reconsider. The StarChase Pursuit Management system uses a laser-guided “gun” that is mounted on the front grill of squad cars. The beam can tag fleeing vehicles at almost any speed with a GPS tracker that will retain the data and forward it in real-time back to police headquarters for further analysis and use in assisting backup patrols. Bad news for thieves and drug dealers, but great news for the crime fighters.

9) Blood type conversion

It used to be that if you needed type-O blood, nothing but that would suffice. This has long been a vexing problem for blood banks, as type-O negative is by far the most valuable blood commodity there Is. However, testing is underway for “Blood Simple”, a device that Danish researchers created to convert other blood types to O with the aid of bacteria. The crux of the discovery? Two isolated enzymes made by bacteria that can erode the sugar molecules which demarcate types A, B, and AB-negative blood from one another. This would more or less convert them to type O, greatly increasing the potential supply of this highly sought-after blood type. With technology like this on the horizon, blood transfusion shortages may not plague us for very much longer!

10) Apple iPhone

Named Time Magazine’s 2007 Invention of the Year, the iPhone has delighted critics since Steve Jobs dramatically unveiled it at the MacWorld convention earlier this year. In one device, the iPhone consolidates a wireless phone, an iPod, a web browser, a camera, and an e-mail communicator. The Internet is rendered much as it looks on normal computers and easily navigated with a super-intuitive touch screen. The iPhone also boasts a massive 8GB of storage for your music, movies, pictures, or documents. And gone are the days of cheap, fast-dying cell phone batteries: the iPhone offers 24 hours of life for continuous music playback, and as long as 12 hours for continuous video. With so much power and capability packed into one gadget, it is no wonder the iPhone took home Time’s top invention honors!

Solution to Our Oil Addiction?

December 19th, 2007

What is old becomes new again with a high-power microwave

John Gerbich

Inventor Frank Pringle might have begun the end of an era of wasted energy with the introduction of his new “Hawk” microwave.

Do not let the name fool you; it is not any ordinary microwave. According to Popular Science magazine, this microwave is capable of extracting the hidden oil and natural gas bound together inside of almost everything around you, including such items as tires, plastic cups and even rocks.

The secret is that all of these items contain a base of hydrocarbon. This giant microwave can break down the old strings of hydrocarbon that the item was originally composed of into component parts. One tire, when broken down to a size that the microwave can handle, can be broken in to four different parts: diesel fuel, carbon black, combustible gas and high-strength steel, said an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The process is fairly straightforward. The item is placed into the microwave in manageable pieces and the microwave is turned on. Once separated, the diesel fuel goes into a glass container and the natural gas goes to a tank. The only thing left in the microwave unit itself is the carbon black. Video of the microwave in action is available online.

This new process is a huge advancement in the world of recycling. Many experts have been unsure as to what to do with these materials once they are no longer usable. Stockpiles of old used tires are often stored in large tire dumps – wasted energy. This new microwave provides a solution. As many of these materials were once thought of as useless, they are now able to be renewed and reused.

The development of the microwave took Pringle 10 years, much of that time spent perfecting the correct microwave frequencies to extract resources from a variety of materials. Because of this, many materials can be extracted, all at different wave frequencies – hundreds of materials. His exhaustive efforts have not gone unnoticed. With this large number of workable materials, his invention can appeal to an extremely large market.

The most obvious market is that of the scrap metal industry. According to NewScientist.com in reference to a particular auto recycling company, “for every ton of steel that the company recovers, between 226 kg and 318 kg of (trash) is produced.” With the new microwave, the auto recyclers are no longer stuck harvesting only scrap metal; they can now make use of almost all parts of the vehicle. This greatly reduces the amount of materials that must be deposited in landfills. Not surprisingly, the first of Pringle’s microwaves was sold to an auto recycler in New York. The price was $5.1 million.

Another possible customer is the US military. The war in Iraq has produced massive amounts of plastics from water bottles and food containers that could easily be converted back to essential fuels needed by the military. An investment such as this would definitely be valuable in reducing unnecessary waste as well as creating more energy sources in a limited environment.

Oil companies may also provide an unexpected market for the Hawk. The microwave creates competition for them, but might also prove to be extremely useful in extracting petroleum trapped in shale. While an investment in the Hawk might be financing their potential opposition, the benefits far outweigh the possible negative effects.

The Hawk is also able to make recycling of other materials much more simple, said NewScientist.com. An excellent example is that of recycling copper wiring. When recycling this wiring, there is no need for its insulation. The insulation, however, can be recycled with the use of the microwave. Not only does this allow the recycling process to be more inclusive, but it makes the copper itself much easier to obtain. The wiring with insulation can be put in the microwave and all that will remain inside of the unit is the copper and the resulting carbon black – metals cannot be extracted.

Inventions as useful as this new microwave are not created often. These kinds of tools could help make the world a cleaner place. They can also help us hold on to what few natural non-renewable resources we have. The ability to reuse will undoubtedly drive us to a more “green” future. Creative minds must continue to create and lead us there.

This article is provided for your personal use by http://www.IdeaBuyer.com. Idea Buyer is the online marketplace for intellectual property and gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and retailers who are looking for new products to bring to market.

Please do not redistribute or reproduce this article without written permission.

John Gerbich is the Staff Writer for IdeaBuyer.com, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. Visit the site by clicking here > Patents for Sale.

Disappearing Car Door

December 4th, 2007

Disappearing Car Door New Invention

This is an interesting invention – the disappearing car door. While the cost is not disclosed on the site, I doubt it’s a modification that can be made economically at this point in time. However, if you’re looking for that eye catching trait for a modified import and price isn’t a concern, this would certainly do the trick. You can read more about the invention at http://www.disappearing-car-dood.com/ or watch the video below.

Eric Corl is the Founder and CEO of Idea Buyer, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers at www.IdeaBuyer.com. You can email him at EricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com.

Patent Trolls Eat Microsoft’s Dinner

November 29th, 2007

A ruling was just confirmed that orders Microsoft to pay well over $140 million dollars for the violation of a patent owned by Z4 Technologies. The patent, which may seem a little general, essentially covers asking a user for two passwords on Microsoft’s software.

Microsoft had used the technology to curtail piracy, however, I’m doubtful that this patent has offered them any true economic benefits. You can read more about the ruling at Mashable.com where Mark Hopkins wrote an interesting piece here.

The lawsuit was filed and won in Texas which is considered a patent troll friendly court.

Mark Hopkins goes on to discuss that it is even questionable as to whether or not the patent should have been issued. The one thing that is clear is that if the patent system is to be improved, it has to happen at the point of approving a patent. If the patent system was reformed then we would not have overly broad patents which individuals would have incentive to exploit.

However, it is important to note the substantial benefit that patents offer the U.S. economy in terms of economic incentive. If we had no intellectual property protection there would be less incentive to take risks both in terms of time and financially to innovate and better the economy.

Wikipedia has an excellent article(here) on what a patent troll is and how they effect the patent system. Below is an excerpt;

Patent troll

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Patent troll is a pejorative term used for a person or company that enforces its patents against one or more alleged infringers in a manner considered unduly aggressive or opportunistic.

Over the past seven to ten years, Microsoft has been on both sides of numerous patent law suits with settlements totaling billions of dollars including creative patent pacts with software companies.

What’s interesting regarding this particular patent is that it was a functionality of a large piece of software whose added use added little value nor did it cost consumers extra capital to have integrated (aside from possible development costs carried over which is negligible). So, essentially what Microsoft paid for was that they were using an infringed patent to further protect their software from being pirated. Isn’t that ironic?

Eric Corl is the Founder and CEO of Idea Buyer, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers at www.IdeaBuyer.com. You can email him at EricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com.

Commercializing New Ideas

November 27th, 2007

Hollywood and popular literature tend to glorify the selfless inventor who innovates out of benevolence for mankind, with no care for personal gain. However, without the ability to commercialize new ideas, many of the world’s most cherished inventions might not have come to pass. Silicon Valley venture capitalist Paul Graham concurs in his essay “How to Make Wealth.”

“Developing new technology is a pain in the ass. It is, as Edison said, one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Without the incentive of wealth, no one wants to do it. Engineers will work on sexy projects like fighter planes and moon rockets for ordinary salaries, but more mundane technologies like light bulbs or semiconductors have to be developed by entrepreneurs.”

That is the first thing any inventor must realize: there is no guilt or shame in wanting to profit from your idea. That being said, how do you go about doing it? As far as we can tell, there are two main ways of commercializing new ideas.

1) Bringing them to market yourself, or

2) Selling/licensing them to others

This article will offer tips and guidance on how to make either strategy work for you. The first way, as mentioned, is to nurture your idea to maturity and bring it into the market yourself. The advantage of this strategy is that you control more of the process. If your sole hope is finding a buyer for your idea, you are more or less at the mercy of their whims. What if your idea is sound, but the company you want to sell to just wont bite?

On the other hand, bringing it to market yourself lets you use intelligence and skill to increase your odds. So let’s start there.

Bring Your Idea to Market Yourself

The first step in bringing an idea to market is really firming it up in your own mind. Have you determined who your target market is? How will you reach them? Do you know what it truly costs to build your product? Do you even know how to concretely build your product, starting from nothing but raw materials? Our article “5 Steps to Patent Ideas” gives you a checklist for answering these questions.

Once it is created, you can roll out your idea in the manner you see fit. Want to sell it online? Want to sell it in retail stores? Want to do both? With a finished, tangible, honest-to-God product to sell, you have the ability to start making these things happen for yourself. Most of the popular retail outlets have buyers who you can talk to about getting your products sold. Selling online is simply a matter of setting up a website and publicizing what you have to offer. By this point you have firmed up your business plan and are intimately aware of what it takes to produce and sell your invention.

Again, the key benefit of this approach is that you are in the driver’s seat for important decisions. Another option that offers less control but also less stress is selling or licensing your idea to others.

Selling/Licensing Your Idea to Others

The chief benefit of selling or licensing your idea is that not everything is riding on you. Some people are not cut out for the task of inventing, creating, marketing and selling a product themselves or simply do not have the desire to spend so much time and effort doing so. It is hard, long, diligent work that you simply won’t do if your heart isn’t 100% in it. Therefore, selling or licensing your idea to others can be an attractive option.

However, be warned that this approach is often made to seem far sexier and easier than it is. While many people over estimate the effort it takes to get in front of the right companies, they also underestimate the amount of follow-up it will require. The process does not happen overnight and will take time to see through to a successful licensing or sale agreement. The farther along you are with a business plan, presentation, and materials the smoother the process will go.

If you are serious about your idea, take the time to package your invention for a successful presentation. Having a business plan, pictures, drawings, and your USPTO information on hand will accelerate your path to a successful sale or licensing agreement after you get in front of the right companies. This gives you the protection and leverage you need to approach someone about selling your idea.

In closing, these are the two main ways of commercializing new ideas. You should give some thought to which approach reflects your strengths and weaknesses as an inventor and pursue the course that feels best.

Eric Corl is the Founder and CEO of Idea Buyer, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers at www.IdeaBuyer.com. You can email him at EricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com.