Ocean Tomo has three employees attending this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas. The OTInsights blog will feature the team’s observations and experiences all week. For a live look into SXSW, follow Josh Gammon @GammonIP, Maria Lazarova @lazarovam and Nash Ream @NashReam on Twitter.
Ocean Tomo heard from Dean Kamen, prolific inventor and holder of over 440 patents, on promoting science, math, and engineering to America’s youth. Dean appeared at SXSW with six participants in the annual FIRST Robotics Competition. The competition supplies high school aged students with mentoring and access to hardware and software to build robotic participants in competitions, culminating in a global championship held in St. Louis each year. National Instruments, supplier of free hardware for every FIRST Robotics Competition team, was also represented.
Dean spoke forcefully on the importance of math, science, and engineering to maintaining American competitiveness and global leadership. He lamented the fact that professional athletes make tens of millions of dollars a year to put a ball through a hoop “some of the time,” whereas the engineers keeping the lights on make fractions of that for succeeding 99.9999% of the time. “Where are engineering’s superstars?” Thanks to Dean for his stewardship of innovation and progress.
Incentivization of invention and innovation is crucial to the American and the global economy, as was recognized when patent protection was enshrined in the US constitution. Private actors like Dean, organizations like FIRST, and government regulatory regimes work in concert to insure that America remains competitive in the global marketplace. At Ocean Tomo, we strive to educate businesses and individuals about the valuation of intellectual property so that innovators can be fairly compensated for their creativity. It was great to see what some other individuals and entities are doing to promote invention.