inventions

Transportation
2:04 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Dutch Test Glow-In-The-Dark Road Of The Future

Glowing Lines are tested earlier this month on a highway near Oss in the Netherlands. The road markings absorb light during the day and emit the green glow at night.
Remko De Waal EPA/Landov

There's a half-kilometer stretch of road in the Netherlands that looks a bit like something out of the movie Tron, thanks to new luminescent markings that glow green in the dark.

The photoluminescent paint, a sort of amped-up version of what is found on many wristwatches, charges up during daylight hours and then emits the green hue at night along the short test patch of N329 highway in Oss, according to Dutch companies Studio Roosegaarde and Heijmans, a road construction firm.

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Technology
12:03 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

SXSW Tech Preview: Snooping, Wearables And More 3-D Printing

Hugh Forrest, pictured here in 2009, is the director of South by Southwest Interactive.
Scott Beale Flickr

South by Southwest Interactive is the technology-driven part of the annual Austin-based festival for digital, film and music and it starts on Friday. An expected 30,000 people will take part in the interactive and film week that precedes music, and they love it for the spontaneity and the chaos. They also hate it because of the chaos — parties on every corner, marketing handouts at every turn and a sprawling program of panels, screenings and speakers that span at least a dozen city blocks in the heart of Texas.

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Technology
5:36 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Google Buys Nest, May Soon Know How Cool You Like Your Home

The Nest Learning Thermostat. The four-year-old company is now owned by Google.
Courtesy of Nest

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:14 pm

As further evidence that this is perhaps the year the Internet of everything really becomes a thing, Google paid $3.2 billion in cash for Nest, the home automation company that pioneered smart thermostats and lately,

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Attempting Things
3:08 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

A Tribute To Failure

Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:25 am

In a society where success is pursued and celebrated above everything else, where media stars, sport champions and the very rich are idolized, failure is seen as an embarrassment, something we must avoid at all costs and, when we can't, must be hidden from everyone else.

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Who was the first to fly?
8:12 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Battle Heats Up Over Gustave Whitehead vs. Wright Brothers

Gustave Whitehead.
National Air and Space Museum

If Connecticut thought a state law acknowledging Bridgeport resident Gustav Whitehead as the first in flight would put the issue of who flew first to rest, Ohio and North Carolina are saying: not so fast. North Carolina Republican State Senator Bill Cook and Ohio Republican State Representative Rick Perales held dual news conferences Thursday reasserting the Wright brothers' legacy as the first to achieve powered flight. 

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Stinging Insect Jedi
12:00 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

An Autumn Harvest...For Yellow Jackets

These yellow jackets were frozen to death, which preserves the venom for immunotherapy treatments.
Chion Wolf WNPR

For most of us, yellow jackets are a nuisance and for some people, they’re fatal. But for Norman Patterson, they’re more of an obsession.

“As a child, I remember finding a wild honey bee hive in the woods and I was fascinated by it," said Patterson. "That’s really what got me into honey bees, which eventually got me into collecting hornets and yellow jackets for medical labs.”

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Start 'em young
10:50 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Connecticut Invention Convention Expands to Create Next Gen Innovators

Mallory Kievman, 10th grade, Loomis Chaffee, invented a lollipop that she says will cure hiccups.
Sujata Srinivasan

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves....” For kids in the Connecticut Invention Convention program, now poised to expand through corporate grants, becoming inventors and entrepreneurs seems to be all in a day’s work.

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:07 am
Tue July 30, 2013

The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices

ralphbijker/flickr creative commons

If you've ever read a book on an e-reader, unleashed your inner rock star playing Guitar Hero, built a robot with LEGO Mindstorms, or ridden in a vehicle with child-safe air bags, then you've experienced first hand just a few of the astounding innovations that have come out of the MIT Media Lab over the past 25 years. We'll look at the transformative innovations that these digital magicians have up their sleeves for the coming years with Frank Moss, author of The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices.

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Wrong Brothers
5:40 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Legislature agrees on Whitehead, state polka, and second state song

State lawmakers passed a bill this week recognizing German immigrant Gustave Whitehead as the first to fly in rather than the celebrated Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk. It was one of just a few bills passed with bi-partisan support.

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Invention Dispute
4:34 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Did the "First Flight" Happen in North Carolina or Connecticut?

North Carolina and the famous Wright brothers are known for being “first in flight.” But Connecticut has been in an ongoing battle for that status. Some historians argue that German immigrant Gustave Whitehead made the first flight in 1901 in Bridgeport. New research this week provides more evidence in favor of Whitehead.

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Where We Live
12:07 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

The Wonderful World of Tinkering

Breakfast for Dinner/Sinclair Lewis (Flickr Creative Commons)

What do Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Steve Wozniack, and the Wright Brothers have in common?

They’re tinkerers, of course.

Yes, tinkering isn’t just something that your uncle does on the weekends. As author Alec Foege says, tinkerers help make America great.

Today, the word tinkering can refer to any number of things. From fixing up old cars, to designing things with 3D printers, tinkerers are using the tools at their disposal to make even better tools, gadgets, and items that many of us take for granted.

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Innovation
12:14 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Orphan Inventions Get New Life

Courtesy of the IP Factory

When it comes to inventing things, Connecticut still punches way above its weight. But sometimes the good ideas dreamed up here end up languishing on a shelf instead of making a difference in people’s lives. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on a new project that aims to find a home for orphan technologies.

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Entrepreneurs
12:59 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Optimism, Ideals Drive Teen Entrepreneurs

Sujata Srinivasan

Most people wait till adulthood to discover their knack for business. But others tap into their entrepreneurial spirit before they even hold a drivers license. In the second of a two part series on young inventors, WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan meets the teen entrepreneurs.

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Teaching Innovation
11:28 am
Fri May 4, 2012

Invention Convention Sparks Creative Kids

Sujata Srinivasan

Some young people seem driven to invent. And if that spirit is nurtured it can become the basis for a successful business career.  In the first of a two part series on early entrepreneurship, WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan met some of the state’s very youngest creative minds at Connecticut’s Invention Convention.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:51 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Keurig Coffee: Revolutionary Invention or Environmental Scourge?

Flickr Creative Commons, meddgarnet

Twenty years ago, I got interested in those plastic -- usually white plastic -- outdoor chairs. "Resin casual furniture," as they were known in the industry. The most popular design was called a "bucket" chair.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:11 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Welcome To The Printed World

Flickr Creative Commons, kakissel

What is 3-D printing? One of our guests today, Michael Weinberg explained it better than I could:

"Essentially, a 3D printer is a machine that can turn a blueprint into a physical object. Feed it a design for a wrench, and it produces a physical, working wrench. Scan a coffee mug with a 3-D scanner, send the file to the printer, and produce thousands of identical mugs."

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Local Impact
9:52 am
Tue January 17, 2012

State's Business Loans Mired In Paperwork

Sujata Srinivasan

Last year’s jobs bill set aside $100 million as a loan pool to help small businesses grow and create jobs. It’s dubbed the Small Business Express Package, and applicants were promised a quick turnaround. State officials have been touring the state to explain the program to businesses that might benefit. But as WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports, they have yet to finalize a loan.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:32 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Was Connecticut First in Flight?

Dick Howell, Wikipedia

Contrary to what you've been told, the first flying machine may have flown in Bridgeport.

Gustave Whitehead is a mostly unsung pioneer in American aviation, and there's some evidence supporting the claim that he flew before Wilbur and Orville did.

Whitehead's story stayed buried a long time, and some believers say this was because of anti-Teutonic attitudes at the outbreak of World War I.

We'll check in with the New England Air Museum about Gustave's flight and the storm of controversy his story ignited among aviation historians.

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