What’s the opposite of the crazy guy inventor? How about the ROBOTIC crazy guy inventor?
Alan Porter (Georgia Institute of Technology) is the principal investigator on a way to bulk up technology by using information from patents and publications. His system looks at the way the citations in various patents reference each other. His system then uses that information to figure out where the holes are in a collection of patents – the “intersections for new technology”.
Cell phones have sensors for acceleration and brightness and temperature? Maybe you missed something. Look through the stuff about sensors. Anything good there? A key patent for automotive suspensions expires next month? That’s an opportunity, right? Patents tend to “cluster” in certain areas. You can see where new areas are starting to emerge by noticing the density of new categories.
“Patent maps” aren’t new. It’s the way corporations look for where there’s weakness in the patent “portfolios” they own. Patents aren’t inventions anymore. They’re bullets in a war against evil competitors who are also trying to figure out what has to be invented, bought, or stolen to bulk up their own side of the patent wars. The old system grouped patents into eight major categories. The new system is much more granular and, according to Jan Youtie, director of policy research services in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, it works a lot better.
Do you want to know what MISTER ScienceAintSoBad thinks about a “systems approach” to inventing? Does he think a cold blooded technology based approach to invention is ever a real substitute for individual intuition, talent, and genius?
In fact, I think it’s why big rich companies that have unlimited access to scientists and engineers, struggle so mightily to come up with the next biggie. They spend too much time gluing extra sensors and more pixels into their products.
They should spend more time in the garage.
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The cartoon is mine.