June 11, 2004 |
About a year ago, Susanne Johnston, a teacher at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, put out a call for students willing to give up lunches and after-school time to try their hand at invention. Sixteen joined up. Little did they know their project would lead to a quest for a U.S. patent. Next week, the team will show off its invention, a handheld device dubbed Shop Talk that can read product bar codes aloud, at an event sponsored by the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.
January 16, 2006 |
Most people know that Benjamin Franklin did not invent electricity by hanging a key on a kite and standing outside during a lightning storm. One thing he really did invent was the armonica. "The advantages of this instrument are that its tones are incomparably sweet beyond those of any other; that they may be swelled and softened at pleasure by stronger or weaker pressures of the finger, and continued to any length; and that the instrument, being once well tuned, never again wants tuning," Franklin wrote in a letter to an Italian friend.
January 30, 1994 |
Patria Garde, professor, nurse and inventor, appreciates Pablo Picasso's observations on creativity. Once, when asked what made for original art, Picasso said: "For me, it's painting an apple and making it new. " "It's very similar to how I feel about my work," Garde said. "I like to look at medical problems and make devices to solve them. " Garde, an assistant professor of nursing at Rutgers University, grew up in Manila and received a bachelor's of science in nursing at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City.
April 9, 1999 |
Drawing once required skill or natural ability, but now artists can get by on patience alone. That's because drawing is now defined to include anyone who can make a mark, or even a dot, on a piece of paper, the more marks the better. This isn't altogether a negative development. There are other modes of drawing besides creating likenesses of things in the material world. While they involve little to no skill, they do require invention of systems and the constitution to endure compulsively joyless repetition.
June 4, 1998 |
In your mad rush to get to work on time, you realize you left the lights on at home and the coffeemaker perking on the kitchen counter. What a waste of electricity. What a fire hazard. What to do? What if you could just sit down at your office computer, log onto the Internet, click your mouse a few times and hook up with your home appliances? From your office desk, you could turn off the bedroom lights, shut down that coffeemaker, and even scan some live video to check up on the baby-sitter.
June 23, 1988 |
If your car breaks down on the highway at night, Karl Weber knows, you are in danger of getting hit unless you can alert passing motorists, but he does not think you should use flares. Karl, who is 11, gets very impassioned when he talks about the hazards of flares. "Flares can blow up in your trunk, and they can start forest fires, and they don't last that long, they can go out," Karl lectured a visitor. "My brother told me - he knows lots of stuff. " So when Karl's science teacher in April assigned three sixth-grade classes at Radnor Middle School the project of inventing something original and useful, he decided to build a safety device that could be used instead of flares to protect stranded motorists.
December 26, 1999
Editor's Note: It's been a too-long goodbye, journalism's wordy farewell to this dying century. Still, we'd like to end the year by pondering four less-noted aspects of the 1900s that changed how we live: Inventions; the Idea of Leisure; the Dating Game, and the Rise of Sports. Human beings invent: They dream up what they want to do, and to reach those dreams, make things that never existed before. Through the long millennia, invention is a miracle to which we have become accustomed.
November 17, 1995 |
Michael Waters is getting used to seeing students across New Jersey solve his problems. Last Christmas, Waters, his wife and their two children were trimming the tree and struggling with the annual task of untangling the endless wires of lights. "I said to myself, 'You'd think in this modern era, someone would have come up with a way to store the lights so assembling them wouldn't end up causing a fight in the family,' " Waters recalled yesterday. The thought traveled from Waters' mouth to the ear of a fourth grader in Jamesburg, N.J. And in May, when Waters arrived at the annual New Jersey student inventors' competition, he had the pleasure of congratulating Tommy Arias for inventing "Detangleable Christmas Lights.
November 29, 1990 |
Tom Phelan may have to remove the word "original" from the name of the product he calls the "Tom Phelan Original Never-Knot Universal Fastening System. " Phelan, a locksmith from Ontario, Canada, said "it was a surprise" to him when a Daily News reporter pointed out that an invention for which he is seeking a patent and on which he has spent the last year in developing a marketing strategy was already patented in the United States five years ago by James Buchanan, cardiology professor at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School.
December 18, 2004 |
A lot of people have great ideas and dream of making them into successful products. Unlike most of those people, Caroll Stoner had a great idea, designed a prototype with her husband, got a patent, and will sell 30,000 units of her invention by the end of this year. Stoner, 41, who works out of her Haddonfield home and has four children ranging from 2 to 13, remembers getting ready for Christmas in 1997 when she had three young children who wanted to help her decorate the tree.