Sunday, February 26, 2017

USPTO – Patents for humanity 2016!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

What’s more than a patent? A patent for humanity!

The USPTO Patents for Humanity program confers awards since 2013, when the program was launched. The winners obtain acceleration certificates for certain USPTO proceedings, and public recognition of their work. The winners are selected for the invention of “game-changing technology to meet humanitarian challenges” and for their vision in “pioneering innovative ways to provide affordable, scalable, and sustainable solutions for the less fortunate”.

In 2016, four awards and two honorable mentions were granted. The following is an extracted and further hyperlinked list of the recipients.

2016 awards winners
  • U.S. Food & Drug Administration - for developing an improved meningitis vaccine production process that’s been used to immunize 235 million people in high-risk Africa countries
  • Case Western Reserve University - for creating a low-cost, accurate malaria detection device using magnets and lasers that allows better diagnosis and treatments
  • GestVision, Inc - for developing a quick, simple diagnostic test for preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication, for use in developing regions.
  • Global Good Fund at Intellectual Ventures - for creating a passive cooler that can keep vaccines cold over 30 days and donating dozens of units to the fight against Ebola and other relief efforts.
Honorable Mentions
  • Alere Inc – for developing diagnostic assays for rapid and early HIV diagnosis at the point of care in low-resource settings
  • Sanofi – for researching new malaria drug candidates with shorter, simpler treatment regimens that can potentially counter the growing trend of drug resistance.

About the USPTO Patents for humanity Program

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Oh, patents! Fastskin swimsuits (2)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The amazing Speedo® tech swimsuits are not without a bit of controversy!

The Speedo® fastskin swimsuits were first used at the Summer 200O Olympics, in Sidney Australia, where the Australian swimming team wearing the suits won 8 gold medals!  The Speedo® tech suits were then caught in a large sportswear controversy, culminating in 2010 with the FINA (Fédération International de Natation - International Swimming Federation) ban on the use of all non-textile, buoyant polyurethane swimming suits, in all competitions, and in 2015, with a ban on the use of suits covering the whole body (for men covering the torso, and for women covering below the knees). The grounds on which FINA upheld that it is “the athlete’s performance that counts in swimming” are perhaps more contested than those of the high costs of engineered suits, manufactured by large sports companies, which create an uneven playing field (Barrow, 2012; Scientific American; Steinbach, 2005).

The Speedo® Fastskin swimsuits are however approved and used for competitive swimming, while the pressure mounts from large sportswear companies for less stringent rules on the use tech fabrics for swimming. 

In Fiona Fairhurst’s own terms, shark skin was her inspiration! No wonder, since sharks can torpedo swim for food at 60 MPH! However, against all possible intuitions about the correlations between the texture of skin and speed, it turns out that rough skin rather than smooth skin, promotes speed, just like shark’s skin which is very rough!  

Fastskin swimsuits help competitive swimmers by reducing drag (i.e.; the resistance to a fluid or fluid friction) against the water, and the amount of water entry between a suit and the body, which also causes increased drag.  Thus, the suits are made of a knitted elasticated fabric that is less water absorbent.  More importantly, the panels of fabric and the position of the seams are researched according to muscle anatomy and activity, both to create compression and to also prevent water entry by making the fabric even more high-tension fitting on the body. Seams are thus used to both reduce the stretchability of the fabric, and to increase tensioned fit in specific areas, such as the lower back and abdominal areas. The tighter tensioned fit of the fabric, resulting in muscle compression, also causes less muscle vibration, which otherwise uses more oxygen, causing more fatigue and drag. 

In addition to the researched position of seams and paneling of the fabric, Fastskin suits include ridges in the fabric called “surface flow modifiers”. These structures, placed longitudinally to the body, on the surface of the suit, are designed to create turbulence which reduces the overall amount of drag.   

For the many aspects of the Fastskin swimsuit invention, Fiona Fairhurst and her colleagues are the recipients of at least 26 US, Australian, German, British and Austrian patents listed below:

AU20017234000 (A) ― 2001-06-21 - Articles of clothing
AU2002100223 (A4) ― 2002-05-02 - Articles of clothing
AU2005248944 (A1) ― 2006-02-02 - Articles of clothing 
AU2009200188 (A1) ― 2009-02-12 - Articles of clothing 
DE60007002 (T2) ― 2004-06-03 - Swimsuit 
EP1110464 (A3) ― 2001-08-16 - Articles of clothing
EP1250858 (A1) ― 2002-10-23 - Close fitting article of clothing with highly tensioned fit
EP1110464 (B1) ― 2008-07-16 – Swimsuit 
ES2207626 (T3) ― 2004-06-01 – Swimsuit
ES2310510 (T3) ― 2009-01-16 -Swimsuit 
GB2361409 (A) ― 2001-10-24 - Close-fitting garment - e.g. swimsuit - consisting of panels of fabric joined by flat seams
GB2361409 (B) ― 2003-11-26 – Swimsuits
GB2411816 (A) ― 2005-09-14 - Surface flow modifiers and swimsuits 
US2001014981 (A1) ― 2001-08-23 - Articles of clothing  
US6446264 (B2) ― 2002-09-10 - Articles of clothing
USD456111 (S) ― 2002-04-30 - Garment 
USD456110 (S) ― 2002-04-30 - Garment  
USD456109 (S) ― 2002-04-30 – Garment
USD456588 (S) ― 2002-05-07 – Garment
USD460242 (S) ― 2002-07-16 – Garment
USD461034 (S) ― 2002-08-06 – Garment
USD462154 (S) ― 2002-09-03 - Garment 
USD461033 (S) ― 2002-08-06 – Garment
USD541008 (S) ― 2007-04-24 - Swimming costume
AT255338 (T) ― 2003-12-15 - Swimsuit 
AT401012 (T) ― 2008-08-15 - Swimsuit 

Speedo USA
Scientific American – Swimsuit controversy… again!
Steinbach, P. (2005)
Barrow, J. (7-25- 2012) Why ban full-body Olympic swimsuits: A scientist explains polyurethane – The Daily Beast
FINA-approved swimwear

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Oh, patents! Speedo® Fastskin swinsuit (1)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Fiona Fairhurst is the inventor of the Speedo® Fastskin swimsuits.
The abridged story of this invention is told in her own words in the short video below.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

One Billion Rising!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

During the month of February and especially, today on V- day, since 2013, Women RISE, DANCE, DISRUPT and CONNECT in a fierce movement against the sexual and physical violence directed at women and girls. The movement is called One Billion Rising! because of the shocking statistic of 1 in 3 women worldwide who will be raped or the victim of violence in her lifetime.
  • In 2013 One Billion Rising! danced to show their outrage.
  • In 2014 One Billion Rising! danced for justice.
  • In 2015 and 2016 One Billion Rising! danced for revolution, in more than 200 countries, with millions of women and girls participating.
  • In 2017 One Billion Rising! is dancing against exploitation and in solidarity.  
The movement grew out of Eve Ensler’s famous play, The Vagina Monologues, performed everywhere on Feb. 14th. The almost as famous theme song of the One Billion Rising! movement, “Break the chain”, was written and produced by Tena Clark, with music by Tena Clark and Tim Heintz. The original choreography of the piece was created by Debbie Allen.

Below a video of the original song and the choreographed dances, that Disrupt! Connect! and Occupy! bringing women together, joyfully and globally, in their struggle to end violence.

One Billion Rising!
Ensler, E. (2001) The Vagina Monologues. New York, NY: Random House Publishing house.
Eve Ensler (website) 
Eve Ensler interviewé par Le Monde
Tena Clark (website)
Tim Heintz (website)
Debbie Allen Dance Company

Friday, February 10, 2017

Oh, patents! Corning® Gorilla® Glass

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Chances are that the glass on your tablet, smartwatch or smartphone boasts the “superior damage resistance, optical clarity and touch sensitivity” that is the stuff of Corning® Gorilla® glass!  If you are not sure, try the Corning® lookup page

Perhaps that the windshield, sunroof and dashboard on your car, might already be equipped with the latest Gorilla® glass product unveiled at CES 2017, specially designed for cars. A new Gorilla® glass product that is ever lighter, tougher and more optically advantageous to enable greater fuel efficiency, passenger safety and better performance for the driver [CES2017].

Corning® has been designing the toughest glass on earth, trademarked Gorilla® glass since the first generation of Iphones circa 2007. Since then Corning® has developed several generations of different sorts of Gorilla® glass, including:
  • Five categories of Corning® Gorilla® glass with ever higher drop protection and resistance to damage, Gorilla® Glass 5 offering the highest shoulder height drop protection on a hard surface; 
  • An antimicrobial Corning® Gorilla® glass for frequently touched public glass surfaces, that contains a built-in ionic silver component to keep the glass bacteria-free;
  • Corning® Gorilla® glass NBT™ for “touch-enabled notebooks” with increased scratch and shock resistance;
  • Large Cover Corning® Gorilla® glass for digital signage and market boards;
  • Vibrant Corning® Gorilla® glass for printing colorful designs on glass.

The following list includes some of the most recent patent applications disclosing the Corning® Gorilla® glass invention and some of its newest patentable aspects. The core of the Corning® Gorilla® glass invention is chemical strengthening of the alkali aluminosilicate glass through an ion-exchange process that forms a compressed and super hard surface armor, or layer. This layer is extremely resistant to scratching and cracking from drops or other forms of fracture, compared to other glass products on the market. Gorilla® glass is also very thin and light, ranging from 0.4 to 2 mm, and compatible with haptic feedback.
  • US2017029325 (A1) ― 2017-02-02 - Antimicrobial and strengthened glass articles through pressurized ion exchange
  • US2017022093 (A1) ― 2017-01-26 - Glass articles exhibiting improved fracture performance 
  • US2017022092 (A1) ― 2017-01-26 - Glass articles exhibiting improved fracture performance
  • US2016376186 (A1) ― 2016-12-29 - Glass with high surface strength
  • US2016376187 (A1) ― 2016-12-29 - Glass with high surface strength
  • US2016368812 (A1) ― 2016-12-22 - Strengthened glass articles and methods of making
  • US2016280591 (A1) ― 2016-09-29 - Methods for producing ion-exchanged glass and
    resulting apparatus 
And of course, no Gorilla® glass could exist without a cute gorilla to pitch the sale! 👠

Corning® Gorilla® Glass
Is it on yours?
CES 2017: Gorilla Glass is moving from Phone to automobiles.