Science of Innovation Video Series

What is Innovation?

Whether it happens among students in a classroom, or scientists and engineers in a laboratory, innovation is a process, a series of steps that begins with imagination, and results in the creation of something of value for society. The videos you can watch below are delivered from USPTO's YouTube channel (link is external). You can also watch the videos directly from USPTO's servers.


Innovation Overview

Photo of children experimenting in a classroom

Innovation. It's a word that touches every facet of our everyday culture from business to science and even the arts. Innovation is often associated with creating new things or ideas and includes improving upon old ones too. Businesses around the world have a great need to continuously innovate to stay competitive in the global marketplace and to bring consumers the latest and greatest products and services. But innovation is not defined by just a single event or even a single brilliant idea. Innovation is truly about a process, a series of steps that begins with human imagination and creativity and results in the creation of something of value for society to enjoy. The creation of intellectual property takes vision, perseverance, and often involves people from different backgrounds and expertise collaborating in order to transform an idea into something that is real and tangible. In this series, you will see how scientists and engineers come together through the process of innovation to create and help inspire a future of amazing possibilities.

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3-D Printing

Photo of 3-D printer in action

3-D printing is a manufacturing technique developed with the help of Professors Michael Cima and Emanuel Sachs from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Once just used to create prototypes, 3-D printers are now used by people from engineers to home inventors to create a variety of objects.

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Anti-Counterfeiting Devices

Photo of scientist looking into a vial of fluid

Electronics, apparel, and pharmaceuticals are only some of the products counterfeiters try to fake. Using nanotechnology, Professor Evangelyn Alocilja, a biosystems engineer at Michigan State University, has developed a product authentication process that may help consumers determine if a product is genuine or fake.

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Bio Fuels

While sources of biofuel currently exist, such as ethanol made from corn, Professor Steve Hutcheson at the University of Maryland is developing a new approach to producing biofuels from cellulosic biomass, using a bacterium discovered in the Chesapeake Bay.

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Photograhpic close-up of a human eye

In a science known as biometrics, physical or behavioral characteristics are used for personal identification. Arun Ross, a professor at West Virginia University, explains that the sclera of the eye is another biometric trait that can be used, an idea he researched and developed into a method that he patented.

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Bionic Limbs

Photo showing a pair of legs aided by crutches and an exoskeleton

Professor Homayoon Kazerooni is a robotics engineer at the University of California, Berkeley with more than 40 patents to his name. His research on exoskeletons relies on more than just ingenuity and engineering expertise, it's also an example of how inspiration can play a part in the innovation process.

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Self Driving Cars

Photo of a white driverless car with a cityscape in the background

At Google® headquarters in Mountain View, California, computer scientist Sebastian Thrun and his team of software engineers are creating a fleet of self-driving cars. Their approach uses artificial intelligence.

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Electronic Tattoos

Photo of a very small square mark on skin next to a finger

Rose Professors John Rogers and Yonggang Huang have collaborated to design and engineer an electronic tattoo, a microelectronic health monitor that adheres to the surface of human skin. Their work is an example of how collaboration is often a key part of the innovation process.

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Fuel Cell Efficiency

Diagram showing the structure of an electrical setup

Professors Reginald Farrow and Zafar Iqbal at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have collaborated on a series of innovations to make the energy conversion process that occurs within fuel cells as efficient as possible.

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Smart Concrete

Diagram showing a concrete column

Concrete is one of the most common construction materials in the world, with its basic technology dating back to the ancient Romans. Engineers like Professor Deborah Chung at the State University of New York at Buffalo are using the innovation process to turn this old idea into a new technology.

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Synthetic Diamonds

Photo of diamonds shining on a dark reflective surface

As an alternative to finding diamonds in nature for his scientific experiments, Professor Russell Hemley of the Geophysical Laboratory at the Carnegie Institution of Washington is creating a method of making large synthetic diamonds in the laboratory.

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