The long distance kiss-messenger

Don´t forget… Tomorrow is Valentine´s Day! In case your loved ones are far away Hooman Samani, an artificial intelligence researcher in Singapore, had an idea. He has developed a robot with a virtual mouth that can emulate and transmit a kiss – bringing an extra touch of intimacy to a long-distance relationship or even a video game.

The “Kissenger” has the size and shape of a softball and has a pair of touch-sensitive lips that detect and copy how each partner delivers the kiss.

Samani says as well as bridging the physical gap between real people it could also create a link with the virtual worlds to add a new dimension to gaming. Curious? Want to know how the „Kissenger“ works? Let´s have a closer look:

California leads the USA in innovation, or does it?

Remember? We already told you about Utility patents. They are the most common patent type and a primary means of protecting intellectual property and technological innovation. IFI CLAIMS®Patent Services recently announced its top-50 ranking of global companies awarded the most U.S. utility patents in 2011. IBM remains in the first position, as it has for 19 years in a row, with a record of 6180 utility patents. Samsung trails second with 4894 and Canon replaces Microsoft in the third slot with 2821.

According to IFI, the USPTO issued 224.505 utility patents in 2011, an increase of two percent over 2010’s record breaking total. While preparing the 2011 Patent Intelligence and Technology Report, IFI analysts took a closer look at the 2011 US patent grants and in particular the location of the inventors named on these documents. Despite the obvious surge of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese companies in the Top 50 assignees, 50% of US patents in 2011 named US inventors.

Diving deeper into the US inventor information the IFI analysts could rank the States based on inventor data. In this case a patent is credited to a state if at least one of the patent’s inventors resides in the state. The top 10 states are shown below:

2011 US Utility Patent Grants
California 32,715
Texas 9,407
New York 9,263
Massachusetts 7,106
Washington 5,737
New Jersey 5,583
Illinois 4,933
Pennsylvania 4,746
Michigan 4,644
Minnesota 4,609

As you see California is the clear leader with respect to the overall volume of patents accounting for 15% of the total number of US utility patents granted in 2011. However when you factor in population, IFI analysts find Vermont at the top of list along with Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The figure below shows a graph of the top 10 states by number of utility patents granted, and the number of patents granted per 100.000 residents.

So what exactly is going on in Vermont that accounts for its performance? The IFI analysts looked at the assignees and found IBM accounting for most of the patent activity. How come? IBM has a large facility in Burlington that designs and produces semiconductors.

Important African-American inventions

Do you know that some of the world´s most popular inventions were created by African-Americans? In honor of Black History Month Inventors Digest is currently celebrating the valuable contributions of famous black inventors.

As an example the magazine names Lewis Howard Latimer. In 1874, he copatented (with Charles W. Brown) an improved toilet system for railroad cars. In 1881 Latimer received another patent for the „Process of Manufacturing Carbons“, an improved method for the production of carbon filaments used in lightbulbs.

We want to introduce you another important African-American inventor – Garrett Morgan.

He created a Safety Hood and 1914 patented it as a Breathing Device, which later came to be known as the Gas Mask. Morgan’s Gas Mask consisted of a hood with two long tubes, one allowing in clean air and the other allowing the user to exhale air out of the hood.

After witnessing a collision between an automobile and a horse-drawn carriage, Morgan also took his turn at inventing a traffic signal. As you can read on the Morgan traffic signal was a T-shaped pole unit that featured three positions: Stop, Go and an all-directional stop position. This „third position“ halted traffic in all directions to allow pedestrians to cross streets more safely.

Do you want to know who invented the elevator, the lawn mower or the refrigerator.

Here you find a list of other important African-American inventors. Check it out!