Posts belonging to Category Inventions Edison Would Love



Thomas Edison Smiles Down on Young Inventors

To an excited crowd of parents, students, and teachers, the winners of the 7th annual Thomas Edison Invention Challenge were announced and celebrated at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park [TENHP]. The contest celebrates inventors from across the country, and in this case, some overseas entries as well.

Originally 118 student teams from over 80 schools entered the contest, with about 22 teams qualifying for run-off. From this, 6 winning teams shown below were celebrated at TENHP.

Here is a summary of the awards in both the elementary/middle school and high school award categories.

All finalists

All finalists

Elementary/Middle Schools

1st Place – Montague School: Team NATEX: Solar Key Light
Solar panel charges during the day which charges two batteries. These batteries give energy to the light in the evening giving an efficient light that allows for users to view their keyhole while entering their home at night. This is a unique way of saving energy and omitting a homeowner from needing to use their porch light at night to enter their home.

Middle School First Place: Nathan and Teacher Karen Goyette

Middle School First Place: Nathan and Teacher Karen Goyette

2nd Place – Betsy Ross Elementary: Mahwah Inventors Team: Lung Exerciser for Assisted Living Folks L.E.A.F
This invention will help people in assisted living get more oxygen to their lungs and get rid of carbon dioxide. This will improve lung function of assisted living residents, make them stronger, improve the quality of their lives, and prevent very serious complications like pneumonia. This device is used as an exercise, as the user must blow the turbine which will then give them an idea of their lung capacity and strength. If the user continuously uses this device their lung capacity will theoretically grow.

3rd Place – Pequannock Valley Middle School: Panthers: Solar Charged Fitbit
This device will aid and prompt users to get outside and walk more. A never ending supply of solar power to a “Fitbit” would aid consumers in wanting to get out and walk challenging themselves on a daily basis to push themselves to further limits.

High School

1st Place – Seton Hall Prep: Design Team 1: Heated Shovel
This invention was created to aid individuals in the winter. The heated shovel allows for users to shovel for extended periods of time without getting cold hands. The warmers heat up two grips that in turn warm the hand. The device is rechargeable making constant use feasible.

High School First Place: Charles and David—Teacher, Kelly Ford

High School First Place: Charles and David—Teacher, Kelly Ford

2nd Place – Seton Hall Prep: Design Team 2: Solar-Pirate
This device allows for users to charge their cellular device without the need of an outlet. This device is both cost and energy efficient. The user simply plugs in their device and places the solar panel in direct sunlight. The device is marketed at roughly half the market value of portable charges creating consumer ease and financial savings.

3rd Place – Mt. Olive High School: Public Assisted Lift Chair
This chair acts as an aid in going from a sitting position to a standing. This device will aid in lower the risk of osteoporosis, stress on the knees and even fractures. The device uses sensors that would assist the user in standing as the sensors pick up weight differentiation. The prototype would be powered by wind or solar energy alternative forms of energy. This device is marketed to the elderly and those with joint issues.

Thomas Edison said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Share

Thomas Edison Likes the Internet of Things

Did you know there is an Intel microprocessor (chip module) named after Thomas Edison, known simply as the “Edison”. This powerful processor can be used for rapid prototyping by entrepreneurs, for wearable applications, and also for supporting the exciting and burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT); where addressable objects (equipment, appliances, and subsystems) may communicate via a programmed or self-assembling network.

Check out this YouTube video for the essential details of what this amazing piece of technology offers:

Suites of micro sensors and instrumentation linked together with powerful expert systems, neural networks and analysis packages would work in conjunction with the data and information gathered via IoT sources, and be capable of predicting potential problems and suggesting avenues to avoid trouble. Here is a very quick and by no means exhaustive listing of the industries where the IoT would be very useful:

  • Instrumentation of bridges and critical infrastructure to determine safety and stresses on aging equipment
  • Monitoring of air and water to detect intrusion of toxic, radiological and pollutant into the environment
  • Detection of weather movements and micro weather systems that could cause not only dangerous conditions but early warning for large area disturbances
  • Monitoring of geographically disperse electric utility systems to prepare for storms and to also minimize potential terrorist threats to these systems
  • Linking together of large wind systems to determine the dynamics of a wind farm and its response to changing electric loads
  • Monitoring seismic activity from a wide geographical area-making predictions of possible impacts and earth movement far away.

Utility companies have fully embraced the concept of the “smart utility”-where engineers can automatically monitor the status of critical equipment. The key emphasis being to maintain high service reliability to customers, anticipating and avoiding power interruptions; and minimizing and restoring outages as quickly as possible.

Utility Workers Busy Maintaining High Service Reliability for Customers

Utility Workers Busy Maintaining High Service Reliability for Customers

Edison would certainly be proud of this IoT movement, as a major tenet of his business philosophy was to continuously improve his products. To the legions of engineers and technicians today employed in the design, operation and maintenance of the nation’s critical infrastructures, he would extend his heartfelt gratitude. And thanks Intel for the Edison microprocessor and your related family of IoT products that truly link our critical infrastructures and world together.

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Share

Thomas Edison Likes the Glass Battery

Like Thomas Edison, John Goodenough is a life-long learner, and also like Edison, Goodenough is seeking to improve what he has already made.

You see, John Goodenough is the fellow who long ago co-invented lithium-ion storage batteries, those little fellows that now power electric vehicles and many of our hand-held and other devices. Now at age 94, John has another idea to make his batteries even better; and people in the know are listening. He wants to create an electrolyte matrix of glass, doped with alkali metals, like lithium and sodium.

John Goodenough

John Goodenough

Edison cradling his nickel-iron storage battery—alleged to have involved over 10,000 experiments to perfect.

Edison cradling his nickel-iron storage battery—alleged to have involved over 10,000 experiments to perfect.

The lithium- or sodium-doped glass electrolyte offers a new medium for novel battery chemistry and physics. The lithium- or sodium-glass battery has three times the energy storage capacity of a comparable lithium-ion battery. But its electrolyte is neither flammable nor volatile, and it doesn’t appear prone to internally shorting out [spiky “dendrites”]; that have plagued lithium-ions as they charge and discharge repeatedly. This could prevent the battery fires we have seen recently with consumer appliances that run on lithium-ion batteries.

The solid glass electrolyte would act more like a super capacitor. And if sodium can be used in place of lithium, that means a more abundant and less expensive source of raw material. Hey … you Tesla lithium-ion battery folks … you listening to this?

Edison’s work with his legendary nickel-iron storage batteries at the turn of the last century began the story of alkali storage battery technology. These batteries became the gold standard for electric storage in a wide variety of industries, including electric vehicles. Manufacturers still make nickel-iron storage batteries today.

Thomas Edison said, “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Share