Did you know Thomas Edison was born on February 11? He would go on to become an inventor, entrepreneur, project manager, technology leader, manufacturer, businessman, husband, and father. In his lifetime, he achieved more than the average man such as a record 1,093 patents, only one of them being the lightbulb.
Below are some of the highlights of his life. Thanks for everything, Tom!
Major Career Stats
Thomas Edison created whole new industries such as:
Music industry (phonographs)
Motion pictures (camera to projector)
Power industry/electric light bulb
The West Orange invention factory [R&D labs]
Thomas Edison also disrupted and radically changed these industries:
Thomas Edison made lasting impressions on the world through:
Championing solar energy (ca. 1910-1915)
Promoting electric vehicle garage charging (ca. 1905)
Being the great grandfather of STEM education and team based problem solving
Inspiring people to “fail” their way to success
Continuous product improvement in all industries
Thomas Edison’s Impact on Society
He has the most recognizable face in the world
His landmark light bulb invention is the international icon for bright ideas
Life Magazine proclaimed him the “Man of the Millennium” 
TIME Magazine featured him on cover of special July 2010 history issue which proclaimed him relevant to our world today
He was an inspiration to generations of inventors and entrepreneurs
The biggest effect on today’s society? Thomas Edison’s inventions and creations to this very day account for about $12 trillion of the world’s $80 trillion economy; and one-fourth of the jobs on the planet. How is that for staying power?
Thomas Edison teaches us more than anything else that inventors and entrepreneurs are a huge positive force for good in the world.
for the 9th annual Thomas Edison Invention Challenge and Pitch
Contest. Over the past 8 years, probably several thousand middle school and
high school students across the Nation have taken this challenge, competing for
top honors. Some have told us how much
this challenge affected their career choice to enter careers in the sciences
and engineering. Think about participating in this intense 90-day experience;
and gain the kinds of skills you will use on-the-job for a lifetime.
will be accepting teams of up to 4 students (3 teams per school permitted) with
1 teacher mentor who will receive a $300 stipend upon contest completion.
are some benefits to participating in the Edison Pitch Contest:
Learn about STEM in a fun way!
Pitch your invention to a panel of judges who are real-life scientists & entrepreneurs.
Work on a team with friends to win the grand prize – a 3D printer for your school!
To register: Registration and participation in this contest is completely free! Complete the registration form and submit a 3-5 minute video about Thomas Edison and what you plan to invent based on materials provided. Learn more about the video submission requirements here.
Once registered (form & video submitted), students will receive their chosen maker kit (Alternative Energy, Mechanical Engineering, OR Biomedical Engineering) and have no more than 90 days to complete their project!
“There is a
little bit of Edison in all of us. Don’t be afraid to unleash it!”
Innovation can occur anywhere, this time in wind energy technology, with a radical step away from the big propeller driven wind machines to a simple vibrating post. Inits start-up phase, Vortex Bladeless is developing an environmentally friendly wind machine that resonates with the wind–see this fascinating video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW4AzDpjcsI
It is a new wind energy technology specially designed for on-site generation; with selected partners and supporters on the development team. Early uses of this technology are expected to be in Africa and India, with scale-up to larger machines as experience and engineering allow. Let’s examine some of the expected benefits:
Easy to install
Can pack wind machines closer together–more power output per area
Less intrusive on bird populations/migratory paths
Lighter construction-less intrusive site construction
No complex moving parts to lubricate and maintenance
No oils needed therefore no possible spills
Reduction of foundation size
Omnidirectional–no need to “yaw” into the wind
Quiet energy production
Vortex bladeless is mainly a solution for distributed energy generation. It is perfect to be placed near a house or over the roof. It can work on grid and off grid, and as a part of a hybrid solar installation plus wind generation.
“I hear the train a comin’
It’s rolling round the bend….”
-Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues
“Now arriving on cell phone track 3…..the 5G Express. This is an all tickets train folks with station stops everywhere. All aboard!”
This train will change everything we have come to expect in telecommunications, transformational as some experts say – even bigger than the automobile and electricity others claim.
With 5G, the combination of speed, responsiveness and reach could unlock the full capabilities of other hot trends in technology, offering a boost to self-driving cars, drones, virtual reality and the internet of things.
Here are just a few of the general expectations:
Every cell phone can offer cheap, unlimited Internet access
Internet speeds many times faster than 4G service
5G will also affect the Internet of things—it all speeds up.
Augmented and virtual reality applications
Remote surgery via teleoperation
Tactile sensation of sights, sounds….etc.
Self-driving cars and traffic control
Health monitoring, especially for seniors
Weather warnings, and forecasting
It’s all in the G’s!
Some of the first 5G phones could be in your pocket/purse in 2019, a full year ahead of earlier projections, and premiering first at highest speeds in big cities like the Big Apple and San Fran. 5G will work best with higher communication frequencies, thus more cell towers, closer spaced, will be needed. This could cause cluttering and aesthetic concerns in urban neighborhoods. Expect lawsuit challenges as it all shakes out.
Thomas Edison so respected the importance of information and knowledge, he placed his office in his corporate library. Imagine if he had a 5G wireless Internet connection and cell phone!
“Time is really the only capital that any human being has and the thing that he can least afford to waste or lose…”
Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.