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The Inventor's Mentor

December 2009

Making the World a Better Place

The holiday season is upon us, and all inventors of good will are called on to make the world a better place. All inventions begin with the identification of a problem. And we have many problems: Religiously fanatic governments striving to build nuclear weapons; global warming accompanied by tornados, firestorms and rising sea levels; destruction of the biosphere by overlogging and overfishing; overexploitation of the planet’s resources; rising pollution destroying our health; economic downturn and high unemployment; an aging baby boomer population. Is the world coming to an end?

I suggest you spend some time contemplating what you might invent to help your fellow man or improve the world. And who knows? This good action could also make you rich! President Obama has identified three top priority fields that need improvements: Energy, Health and Education. In addition to these I have listed a few other topics below that you could focus on. Some of them require hi-tech solutions; other can be solved by simple low-tech approaches.

1)     Energy. Invent new methods of generating energy or devices that improve mechanical efficiency and conservation without spewing out global warming gases such as CO2. The impending change to electrically powered cars offers the opportunity to invent new automotive accessories to fit this new market.

2)     Health. Find new treatments for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, malaria, and back pain. Discover new antibiotics to fight newly evolved antibiotic resistant bacteria. Find new methods to deliver a better quality and less expensive health care.

3)     Education. Teaching methods have hardly evolved for the past 2000 years. The age of the computer should provide ample opportunities to improve the quality of education as well as to reduce its cost. On-line education on a national or even global scale is coming and brings with it countless invention opportunities.

4)     Transportation. Our dependence on our gas guzzling automobiles to carry people and goods around has damaged our environment and weakened our political and economic standing among nations. We need to break our addiction to oil. Inventors can make this change possible.

5)     Fresh Water. Increased agriculture and farming is consuming more fresh water than ever. Increased water consumption together with global warming may convert our planet into a vast desert. There is a need for water conservation techniques, in the home, in the yard, on the farm, in industry. There is also a need for producing fresh water by efficient and inexpensive desalination techniques.

6)     Foods. While a large number of human beings are starving, another large number are obese. Find ways to feed the increasing human population on the planet, without overexploiting the land and the sea, and without polluting the biosphere with pesticides. Find methods to reduce or eliminate obesity.

7)     Natural Resources. Our industry depends on non-renewable natural resources such as Copper, (used in electrical circuits), Indium (used in liquid crystal displays), and Platinum (used in catalytic converters). The challenge for inventors is to find green and renewable alternatives to these scarce natural resources.

8)     Quality of Life. Improve the life of the disabled including the blind, the deaf, the lame and the old. For the indigent, often the simplest actions such as tying a shoelace or handling a spoon and a fork are impossibly difficult. Put yourself in their situations and feel what they feel. Then come up with a solution to their problem.

9)     The Environment. The growing human population is putting larger and larger demands on our environment. The depleted biosphere in turn is losing its capacity to support a life, including human life. If inventors are to solve this problem, they need to provide green solutions which are in harmony with the nature.

10)  Political Freedom. Recent world events have shown the power of the Internet’s social networking tools such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter, to effect political changes and help disseminate democratic ideals. What can you do as an inventor to enhance these Internet services in the service of democracy?

Happy Holidays to all!

For archived newsletters and a lot of information for the small inventor go to: If you have any question you can contact me at (858)259-2226 or email me at This newsletter should not be construed as legal advice. ©2010 by George Levy.