Posts belonging to Category Inventions Edison Would Love



Thomas Edison Would Love Artificial Intelligence

Mention artificial intelligence and folks automatically think robots … sometimes true but certainly not always. It is our desire to associate something physical with this highly mathematical science. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software. It is also the name of the academic field which studies how to create computers and computer software that are capable of intelligent behavior.

Visualizing the AI Thing

Visualizing the AI Thing

It’s not all that new, harking back to the 1950s; modern versions of it being built within high level chess games, medical diagnostic programs and trouble-shooting fixes. Anyone who has read through automotive repair manuals negotiating a series of questions to funnel down to a likely problem is actually using a common form of AI known as an “expert system”

Neural networks mimic complex systems.Riding a bike is a neural network function-balance for a biped walking robot is another. Seeing trends in massive data streams is another application; as are classifying problems into similar basic categories/groups.

Some common application families under the AI umbrella

Some common application families under the AI umbrella

The main goals of artificial intelligence include reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, natural language processing (communication), perception and the ability to move and manipulate objects. Just a quick smattering of the kinds of applications AI can be used for:

  • Pattern recognition/classification
  • Optimization problems
  • Image processing
  • Simulation
  • Autonomous control of aerial vehicles
  • Pilotless cars/vehicles
  • Missile navigation
  • Smart homes/smart utility systems
  • Robotic control and mobility
  • Advanced learning techniques
  • Stock market simulation/modeling

When Edison codified how to transform raw ideas into marketable products through what became R&D labs, his process, composed of discrete steps (sub-processes) was actually an expert system. In fact, this versatile expert system soon spread all over the world, changing forever the business community and its realization of what technology driven product development could do for a country’s standards of living … what we recognize today as “progress”. GE immortalized this in their 1950’s corporate tagline …”progress is our most important product.” Way to go, Tom!

Keep your eyes on AI and be patient. It will change the world and how we do many things.

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.

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

Share

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