While most people see viruses as harmful, Angela Belcher at MIT sees the future of energy.
Science Of Innovation
From Thomas Edison’s light bulb to Wilbur and Orville Wright’s flying machine, inventors and inventions transform the way we communicate, travel and live our daily lives--thanks to the creative process of innovation. That process is highlighted in this video series The Science of Innovation. In celebration of the 165th birthday of one of America's greatest innovators, Thomas Edison, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and NBC Learn, produced this 11-part series narrated by NBC News' Ann Curry highlighting innovators from across the country.
Angelique Johnson is the CEO of MEMStim, a company that is innovating how electrode arrays in cochlear implants are manufactured. Using automated micro-fabrication, instead of costly hand-made manufacturing, Johnson is able to lower the cost of production, allowing more people in need of implants to afford them.
William Provancher of Tactical Haptics has developed a device that combines the sense of touch with technology. Called the "reactive grip," it allows the user to experience the virtual world in a whole new way.
At the University of North Texas, Rajiv Mishra is using a form of welding in a new technology that can improve metal's strength, toughness, and other properties and could bring new opportunities to the automotive and aircraft industries.
Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. But to engineer Mary Frecker of Pennsylvania State University, it is the future for designing tools that could be used in fields such as medicine and space exploration.
Adam Feinberg at Carnegie Mellon University has come up with a technique that expands the use of 3-D printing technology and could one day allow researchers to print heart tissue.
Biosensors designed for food and water safety allow a manufacturer to embed a unique biomarker into their products, helping authorities instantly detect whether it's real or fake.
A method for capturing and analyzing the vein patterns in the white part of the eye to help identify people. Biometrics has potential applications for driver's licenses, passports or computer identification control.
To operate and function efficiently, machines of all shapes and sizes need a source of energy. A series of innovations is helping to make energy conversion within fuel cells as efficient as possible.
A new approach to producing biofuels that uses a marine bacterium called Saccharophagus degradans that left otherwise alone, is mostly known for its damaging impact on the environment.
A new method for creating "synthetic diamonds" that not only creates larger diamonds, but also manipulates their toughness, hardness and color. Potential uses include cutting tools, electronics or optical materials.
A three-dimensional, digital representation of an object created with a computer and then sent to an inkjet printer that builds the prototype in three-dimensions. This innovative tool is giving scientists, engineers and backyard inventors a faster, easier and less expensive way to turn their ideas into a reality.
A micro-electronic health monitor so thin, light and portable that it can attach right to the surface of skin and go wherever a person goes. This innovation has the potential to revolutionize the field of healthcare technology.
By adding carbon fiber to concrete mixture, a slab of concrete is able to conduct electricity. "Smart concrete" has many potential applications, including helping structural engineers to identify trouble spots in a concrete structure long before stress or cracking is visible to the human eye.
Whether it happens among students in a classroom, or 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.
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, the simple desire to help other humans.
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. His innovative approach to artificial intelligence is what makes these cars such a success.