Inventing the 21st Century

Stephen van Dulken

Stephen van Dulken

Distributed for British Library

157 pages | 100 line drawings | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4 | © 2010
Paper $17.95 ISBN: 9780712358026 Published November 2010 For sale in North and South America only

From the iPod to the Nintendo Wii, the first decade of the twenty-first century has already brought us incredible inventions we could not have imagined before, yet that have already changed how we live our lives and spend our free time. Although the twenty-first century is only beginning, the number of new patents that have been filed bears witness to the ongoing ingenuity of inventors around the world and the fact that technology is changing more rapidly than ever before.

Following on the success of Stephen van Dulken’s previous surveys of invention, Inventing the 21st Century examines the leading inventions of this century, including the Blackberry, the teen-repelling Mosquito Tone, the Segway, mixed-source DNA analysis, and E-book readers. Van Dulken is careful to describe both the technical aspects of the inventions as well as the human interest stories behind them; to this end, he includes personal interviews with the inventors themselves, providing an engaging insight into how and why they came up with their unique ideas.

Illustrated throughout with the original patents for the inventions, this absorbing and readable account of the amazing technological leaps already taken this century—and the creative inventors behind them—will be of interest to anyone fascinated by the world of modern technology and gadgets that surrounds us.

Contents

Introduction

The rise of e-books

A smart wheelchair

The ‘bladeless’ fan

Tubular containers for confectionery

The iPod MP3 player

Fed up with abusive teenagers hanging around your shop?

Apple’s iPhone

The Gocycle bicycle

The Magnamole cable guide

The Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit

The Searaser wave-powered pump

The Road Refresher no-spill dog bowl

Nintendo’s Wii game console

Wide-image scanning of the retina

Who invented the MRI? A Nobel Prize dispute

Leaves on the line

Reprieve for the BlackBerry

Clean water

Carbon capture in the ocean

Stamping out smoking

Heelys shoes

The Silent Knight anti-snoring ring

The hand cream that blocks MRSA transmission

Self-service checkouts at the supermarket

The electronic supermarket trolley

Recyling PET plastic

Coffee-cup sleeves

Business method patents

Medical advances

Robot helpers

Protecting the computer and its users

Harry Potter and intellectual property

To Arthur! 250 years of the black stuff

The electronic nose

Product placement

Inventions in the Universal Studios theme parks

Inventions on Dragon’s Den

A novel broom

The yoomi self-warming baby bottle

Anti-skimming devices

The fight over high-definition recordings

The Segway personal transporter

Self-cleaning glass

The Roomba robot vacuum cleaner

Rotating buildings

Automatic number recognition

Bricks from ash, not straw

Near-field communication – ‘wave and pay’

Computer-generated imagery in films

The future for the car?


How the patent system works, and suggestions for research

Further reading

Index

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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