NEWER POST

Style at the Station, May 10th: A Guilt-Free Shopping Celebration at Green...

OLDER POST

Stoop Stories Operates at Hopkins Friday!

Featured, Schools

Johns Hopkins APL Names Best Inventions of 2011

0 Written by: | Thursday, May 03, 2012 10:31am

The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab is sort of like a playroom for really smart people, but instead of Legos they use microminature motors and undersea acoustic technologies. This is physics in action, folks, and it’s dramatic.

Last year, 460 scientists at the APL disclosed 259 inventions — an all time high! — but only two get honored at the Invention of the Year Award Reception (yes, trophies were provided).

The top invention of 2011 was the Ultra-Compact Multitasking Motor Controller, which is — well, it’s kind of exactly what it sounds like. By “ultra-compact,” the device’s inventors (Harry Eaton and Douglas Wenstrand) mean “the size of a dime.” Which is, indeed, ultra-compact. The controller is designed to coordinate movement in a state-of-the-art prosthetic arm, which features movements so nuanced that each individual finger can move independently. Previously, most similar controllers were three times the size of this one — and it’s able to coordinate with the 10 motors within the prosthetic arm, to boot.

The day’s other honors, the Government Purpose Innovation Award, went to the Constrained Probability of False Alarm Classification (CPFAC), which (to be honest) sounds less immediately cool, but is probably very useful.  Essentially CPFAC is a way for the Navy to eliminate clutter (ie, shipwrecks, shipping traffic, enormous squid) from sonar target detection and classification systems. This makes false alarms less likely.

According to Jerry Krill, assistant director for science and technology at APL, “Inventions are a key indicator of how innovative an organization is. The number of APL intellectual property disclosures reached an all-time high last year—an 84 percent increase—which is a tribute to our staff’s focus on innovation.”

Leave a Reply



    NEWER POST

    Style at the Station, May 10th: A Guilt-Free Shopping Celebration at Green...

    OLDER POST

    Stoop Stories Operates at Hopkins Friday!

    Most Comments This Week

    2

    Gracious Receiving 101

    Written by Melinda Cianos

    Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 10:51am

    2

    Fracking's Air Pollution: Disgusting, Toxic and Legal

    Written by Laurel Peltier

    Thursday, Dec 18, 2014 11:21am

    1

    Lobo sounds like it could be my new favorite bar...

    Written by Amy Langrehr

    Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014 3:15pm

    Recent Comments

    TBH
    Fracking’s Air Pollution: Disgusting, Toxic and Legal

    "What an informative article. Thank you.

    S. Thomas Bond
    Fracking’s Air Pollution: Disgusting, Toxic and Legal

    "All too true. The industry is a moral quagmire from top to bottom. Everything from...

    bill
    Incoming Lieutenant Governor to Forgo Most of His Staff

    "I have a money saving idea. When the name Martin O'Malley is removed from all the signs...

    Cija
    Gracious Receiving 101

    "I wish I'd read this at my birthday party last year...I need to write How to Become A...

    Terri Steel