Opening Statements

New video series looks behind the scenes of innovation at inspiring inventors

Posted May 1, 2013 4:20 AM CDT
By Ed Finkel

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Electronic “tattoos” laminated onto patients’ forearms to monitor health indicators, three-dimensional “printers” that use computer-aided design to sculpt items from layers of powder and glue, and bionic exoskeletons that enable paraplegics to walk with crutches are among the inventions profiled in the new Science of Innovation video series at the website NBC Learn.

The videos, produced in partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the National Science Foundation and the National Science Teachers Association, show the science behind the invention, as well as how each one was protected through patent or trademark law and why those steps are important in commercializing an invention. Another video in the series offers a patent examiner’s explanation of how the PTO works, along with explanations of patents and trademarks and the legal process involved in obtaining those intellectual property protections.

The video series, aimed at junior high and high school students, was released in conjunction with Thomas Edison’s 165th birthday. PTO education coordinator Joyce Ward says the agency hopes the videos encourage students to make that crucial link between science, technology, engineering and math. “We want to enable students to see the end point—what can result,” she says. And she hopes the videos will inspire some future inventors, patent examiners or even IP attorneys.

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