Invention

From Academic Kids

In lay terms, an invention is a novel device, material, or technique.

An invention is a unique or novel device, method, composition or process. The invention process is a process within an overall engineering and product development process. It may be an improvement upon a machine or product or a new process for creating an object or a result. An invention that achieves a completely unique function or result may be a radical breakthrough. Such works are novel and not obvious to others skilled in the same field. An inventor may be taking a big step toward success or failure.

Some inventions can be patented. A patent legally protects the intellectual property rights of the inventor and legally recognizes that a claimed invention is actually an invention. The rules and requirements for patenting an invention vary by country and the process of obtaining a patent is often expensive.

Following the terminology of political economist Joseph Schumpeter, an invention differs from an innovation. While an invention is merely theoretical (even though it might have been filed with the Patent Office), an innovation is an invention that has been put into practice. However, this conflicts with the theory of social anthropologists and other social sciences researchers. In social sciences, an innovation is anything new to a culture. The innovation does not need to have been adopted. The theory for adoption (or non-adoption) of an innovation is called diffusion of innovations. This theory, first put forth by Everett Rogers, considers the likelihood that an innovation will ever be adopted and the taxonomy of persons likely to adopt it or spur its adoption. Gabriel Tarde also dealt with the adoption of innovations in his Laws of Imitation.

Types

Inventions are of three kinds: scientific-technological (including medicine), sociopolitical (including economics and law), and humanistic, or cultural.

Scientific-technological inventions include railroads, aviation, vaccination, hybridization, antibiotics, astronautics, holography, the atomic bomb, computing, the Internet, and the smartphone.

Sociopolitical inventions comprise new laws, institutions, and procedures that change modes of social behavior and establish new forms of human interaction and organization.

Humanistic inventions encompass culture in its entirety and are as transformative and important as any in the sciences, although people tend to take them for granted.

Contents

List of Inventors and Inventions

* List of inventors

* Timeline of inventions


See also

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