The magic of innovation

What do the automated teller machine, Kodak Photo CD, and the fax machine have in common? On the surface, it doesn’t seem like much. Each of these products, however, started out as an award-winning technology in the pages of a magazine.

04/18/2012


Government labs—and some private firms—have spent countless dollars and hours on basic research. Basic research is the purest form of research, often without specific monetary goals or timelines. Researchers often head into a lab to “build a better mousetrap” or better understand fundamental principles, and come away with something that changes our everyday lives. Basic research is debatable; some feel that this free-form research with no direct or immediate commercial benefits holds no place in our society. Others believe that basic research leads to innovations beyond our wildest dreams.

 

Either way you look at it, researchers have brought us some pretty cool stuff.

 

In addition to the three products mentioned above, the halogen lamp, Nicoderm anti-smoking patch, and HDTV debuted in the pages of R&D Magazine as winners of the R&D 100 Awards. While some of them may have been “mistakes” in the lab, others may have been developed to enhance technology already in place or to beat the competition—and make more money.

 

In the case of this publication, government laboratories—a hotbed of basic research—don’t participate in our top products competition, the Product of the Year awards. We do, however, see some of the most innovative companies enter the competition. These firms encourage and award innovation, so it’s no surprise that they compete year after year. Last year’s Product of the Year Most Valuable Product is an example of that—the winning company continuously develops and produces new technologies.

 

While the Product of the Year finalists in electrical distribution or plumbing and water management may not seem as cutting-edge as the liquid crystal display or Taxol anticancer drug (also R&D 100 Award winners), they undoubtedly make our buildings a little smarter, our planet a little greener, and our lives a little better.

 

Voting for the Product of the Year program remains open until June 29. I encourage you to select the next hot technology in the building and engineering field. You’ll be selecting the gold, silver, and bronze winner in each category. Then, with your creative juices flowing, go back to your workshop and engineer a better mousetrap. 



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This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
How to use IPD; 2017 Commissioning Giants; CFDs and harmonic mitigation; Eight steps to determine plumbing system requirements
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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