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  US Patent Search

United States Patent and Trademark Office Search allows you to find all US Patents from 1790 to the present.
    Patents from 1790 through 1975 are searchable only by Patent Number and Current US Classification. boolean search help

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Free Patents Online is a database with searchable full text of all US patents from # 4,000,000 upward, free .pdf patent copy downloading, and other useful features.

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The Intellectual Property Digital Library of the World Intellectual Property Organization maintains a free database of international patents filed under the 1970 Patent Cooperation Treaty. WIPO maintains a separate PCT website, and free searchable databases of internationally-registered trademarks and designs, and other intellectual property.

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  Patent Search & Information Links

The European Patent Office offers free searches of the database of the European patent agency for European patents, US patents, Japanese patents, and other international patents.

Delphion Patent Search offers basic US patent searches only with free registration, and subscription "premium" services, with greater capabilities, but which cost $95 or $210 a month.

Wacky Patent of the Month is "devoted to recognizing selected inventors and their remarkable and unconventional patented inventions".

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  Technology, Engineering & Inventing Information Links

NASA Tech Briefs has many online engineering articles & .pdf downloads, plus a subscription journal, free in either snail mail hardcopy or .pdf format. They also have a directory of free download tech software.

eFunda stands for "engineering fundamentals". They bill themselves as "the ultimate online reference for engineers", and they might be right.

A to Z of Materials is the "Premier On-Line Materials Information Site, Supplier and Expert Directory." From their home page, you can search for materials by properties, or ask a "natural language" materials question.

Open Channel Software distributes over 250 useful technical freeware programs.

Discover Engineering is an educational site.

Invention Dimension from MIT has an inventor's handbook, invention links and resources, an invention awards program, and profiles a new inventor every week.

  Robots & Robotic Technology Links

The NASA Telerobotics Program has as its goal that "by the year 2004, 50% of the EVA-required operations on orbit and on planetary surfaces may be conducted telerobotically". The program covers on-orbit assembly and servicing, science payload tending, and planetary surface robotics. The site includes a photo archive, the Cool Robot of the Week, and links to Internet robot resources.

MIT Humanoid Robotics is the home page for MIT projects to construct an intelligent humanoid robots, including "Cog".

Fast Marching Methods and Level Set Methods uses java applets to demonstrate algorithms for tracking moving boundaries, extracting shape from medical scans, guiding robots, etc.

Shape-Memory Alloys is a brief introduction from Stanford U.

MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) from Sandia National Laboratory is about microelectromechanical devices.

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The European Nuclear Society site lists nuclear power plants, world-wide.

The Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides information on solar, wind and geothermal power, and a photo library of over 7,000 pictures.

Solar Cell Breaks Conversion Records is an article from Scientific American on a triple-junction photovoltaic cell achieving 40.7% efficiency in 2006 at the NREL National Center for Photovoltaics.

Fuel Cells 2000 has fuel cell news and FAQ's, plus a bibliography, info on conferences, and about 170 links.

Fuel Cells: Green Power is a 33 page book (in .pdf download format) about fuel cells, from the Los Alamos National Labs.

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IBM's Deep Computing Institute reports on their research into parallel processor supercomputing.

Oxford Quantum Computing has FAQ's, tutorials, and links about quantum computing from the U. of Oxford's Centre for Quantum Computation.

Much of what makes the Internet and WWW work originated at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science.

  Technology History Links

The Charles Babbage Institute is a history of computing and information processing archive and research center at the U. of Minnesota. The archives and collections are searchable, and the site includes links to other history of computing websites.

Transistorized!, designed to accompany a PBS television program, tells the history of the transistor.

Laser History is Bell Lab's own history of lasers and how they work.

Alexander Graham Bell Papers is an archive of about 1400 of Bell's papers and notes, from the Library of Congress.

CalTech PhotoNet is a searchable database containing scanned images from CalTech's photo archives, including Einstein, Feynman, Pauling, and many more. The images are free for non-commercial use.
 

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TIME Magazine, July 12, 1948, p. 54:

SCIENCE: Little Brain Cell
   Vacuum tubes are the brain cells of modern technology. Each year, as machines take on more complex jobs, more & more vacuum tubes are needed. But they are tricky to manufacture: they are usually both bulky and fragile. They have to warm up before they can start operating, and they need a continuous current to keep their filaments hot. The men who design electronic nervous systems would like a vacuum tube without these faults.

   Last week Bell Telephone Laboratories demonstrated a small, simple device that can do many of the jobs now done by vacuum tubes. Called a "Transistor," it has no vacuum, no glass envelope. It requires no heating current and can start working immediately without a warm-up.

   The Transistor is a slim metal cylinder about an inch long... Inside are two hair-thin wires whose points press, two-thousandths of an inch apart, on a pinhead of germanium. A feeble current in the "input" wire controls a much larger current flowing from the "output" wire. Such "amplification" is the essential property of vacuum tubes. The Transistor works on a different principle (by changing the conductivity of the germanium), but it amplifies the input current as much as 100 times.

   Transistors are not in production yet, but Bell scientists, to show what their little brain cells can do, demonstrated a radio receiver with vacuum tubes replaced by Transistors. Though not very powerful, it worked fine. Probably the Transistor's first practical assignment will be to amplify currents in telephone circuits, a job now done by vacuum tubes.

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