29 August 2009

Whew! Now you can swing side-to-side without fear of being sued!

Hi -

If, for fear of patent infringement, you had been avoiding swinging side-to-side on a swing suspended by trees - - breathe a sigh of relief! Read on...

One example of some of the problems with the U.S. patent system is exemplified by U.S. Pat. 6,368,227, "METHOD OF SWINGING ON A SWING," which generated substantial publicity for its young inventor when it issued in 2002.

Or, I should say, the expired '227. According to the USPTO database, it expired in 2006.

What did it cover?

1. A method of swinging on a swing, the method comprising the steps of:
a) suspending a seat for supporting a user between only two chains that are hung from a tree branch;
b) positioning a user on the seat so that the user is facing a direction perpendicular to the tree branch;
c) having the user pull alternately on one chain to induce movement of the user and the swing toward one side, and then on the other chain to induce movement of the user and the swing toward the other side; and
d) repeating step c) to create side-to-side swinging motion, relative to the user, that is parallel to the tree branch.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the method is practiced independently by the user to create the side-to-side motion from an initial dead stop.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises the step of:
e) inducing a component of forward and back motion into the swinging motion, resulting in a swinging path that is generally shaped as an oval.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the magnitude of the component of forward and back motion is less than the component of side-to-side motion.

Whew! Google Patents: 6,368,227. Or search for the prosecution history in the file wrapper at the USPTO, here.


28 August 2009

Mass High Tech profile

Hi there - 

I'm profiled in this week's Mass High Tech in a piece by Jim Connolly: "Gregg Favalora sets his sights on the optics industry."

Maybe it’s in his genes or maybe it was from his environment, but Gregg Favalora feels he was destined to work with optics and imaging. In fact he has been working with 3-D imaging since he was in junior high...

01 August 2009

(Edge) Short course on synthetic genomics

Hello -

Brockman's Edge.org continues to showcase interesting work from his cadre of leading-edge thinkers (or, as I think of them, "the smart cool-kids.") George Church and Craig Venter taught a 6-hour course on synthetic genomics, presented at Edge.org, for free.

I didn't make it through all six hours, though what I watched I found really absorbing. I also admit I find the selection of students equally fascinating - they introduce themselves in the first minutes of part one. If you are a frequent visitor to Edge.org, or watch TED videos, or, really, go to any of the "conferences by big thinkers," they'll be familiar (though mostly West Coast) names.