NBC Learn, NSF, USPTO Join for Science of Innovation Videos


NBC Learn has produced a series of educational videos in partnership with the National Science Foundation and the US Patent and Trademark Office that showcases the process behind innovation.

The three-part set, named “Science of Innovation,” was released this month and continues a series begun in 2013. The videos are narrated by NBC News and MSNBC anchor Kate Snow.

Six scientists and engineers are featured in the videos. Adam Feinberg of Carnegie Mellon University is featured for his innovations in 3D bioprinting. Mary Frecker of Pennsylvania State University has used the Japanese paper folding art of origami to inspire designs for tools that will be used in the fields of medicine and space exploration. Rajiv Mishra of the University of North Texas is using friction-stir welding to improve the strength and toughness of metals, and could possibly change the future of automotive and aircraft technology.

William Provancher of the company Tactical Haptics has developed a motion-based controller for virtual reality that allows users to have a sense of touch in virtual worlds. Angelique Johnson, the CEO of MEMStim, is making strides in the manufacture of electrode arrays in cochlear implants using micro-fabrication to lower costs and to make cochlear implants more widely available. Angela Belcher at MIT is using specially engineered viruses to form nano-scale wires for batteries that could reduce the cost of electronics.

The videos align with state and national education standards, and supplementary activities and lesson plans will be available soon.

The Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, Michelle K. Lee, debuted these new videos at a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) event in Bettendorf, Iowa, accompanied by Senator Chuck Grassley and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds. Lee said:

Across the country our schools are full of bright students with creative imaginations and soaring optimism. These ‘Science of Innovation’ videos demonstrate that when you mix a big idea with an entrepreneurial spirit, there is no limit to what can be achieved. By continuing to engage with students and encourage them to pursue an education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, we give them the tools to turn their dreams into realities and lay the foundation of future innovation.

NBC Learn and the National Science Foundation have released 12 “Science of…” series so far, which have won multiple awards and critical acclaim.

The three organizations involved in the series are all deeply invested in the growth of STEM education in America and the resultant development of technology. NBC Learn is the educational section of the NBCUniversal News Group. The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports research and education in STEM fields. The US Patent and Trademark Office is the federal agency responsible for granting patents and registering trademarks, giving it a key role in the implementation of new technology.

The videos can be viewed for free at NBCLearn.com, NSF.gov, Science360.gov, and USPTO.gov.

NBC Learn will be hosting a Twitter chat on Wednesday March 2nd at 1 PM EST, which viewers can join by using the hashtag #ScienceofInnovation.

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