Author: Reid Creager

Fidget Spinners Are Really Nothing New

Sensation derives from similar toys dating back centuries; media myths abound The fidget spinner is basically a handheld top deriving from ancient traditional tops that were spun on a flat surface. Some tops were found in the tombs of King Tut. By some media accounts, fidget spinners surpassed a half-billion dollars in sales during April and May of this year as they became perhaps the hottest trend ever in the toy industry. Notice we didn’t say “the hottest new trend.” The palm-size device—consisting of a top connected to a ball bearing with rounded blades that can rapidly spin when...

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Teens’ Invention is a Blast

Da Bomb Bath Fizzers are all about fun—and lots of hard work Sisters Isabel and Caroline Bercaw run track in the spring at Edina High School in Minnesota. Although they approach this with their usual 100 percent effort, track season pales by comparison to the amount of fast-paced activity they have come to know in their daily lives. Not that they’re complaining. Their lives have become increasingly busy since 2012, when their idea to make unique bath bombs for a local art fair unleashed a shower of response that hasn’t turned off. Now their Da Bomb Bath Fizzers are...

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Instant Replay Inventor Got it Right

Tony Verna should get all of the credit and none of the blame For better or worse, instant replay went from an entertainment device to a means of deciding borderline calls on the field. Let’s go to the video, Biff, for another look at instant replay 54 years after its invention: As a means of enhancing entertainment for sporting events on TV, it has been a good thing. As far as being used to rule on borderline calls on the field, it has been, well, borderline at best. When he used instant replay for the first time during a...

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Where Does USPTO Nominee Lean?

It’s hard to tell about Andrei Iancu right now, which could be a good thing. The recent nomination of Andrei Iancu as the new director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office has spawned various speculation from IP insiders. Assuming his nomination is eventually confirmed, will he be pro-small inventor? What’s his record with the tech sector? Biotech? Alleged patent trolls? The much-maligned Patent Trial and Appeal Board? Iancu’s record is so diverse that it’s hard to form a judgment—even though there are some signs based on past cases with which he was involved as the managing partner...

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Leader in Gene Technology Wins $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize

Cash award is largest in U.S. for invention Dr. Feng Zhang, a pioneer in gene editing technology, is the recipient of this year’s $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. The award is the largest cash prize for invention in the United States. Zhang’s numerous scientific discoveries and inventions, as well as his commitment to mentorship and collaboration, earned him the prize that honors outstanding mid-career inventors who improve the world through technological invention and demonstrate a commitment to mentorship in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). He is a core member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, an investigator at...

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