The Sky Is The Limit
Indoor plumbing. Electricity. Computers. Cell phones.
Though it may be hard to imagine living in the 21st Century without one of these devices, it took an inventor to bring them to the public consciousness. Now many consider their presence a “right” of living in America.
While no magical cure appears on the horizon for AIDS, cancer or global warming, many believe bright minds will continually come up with inventions to postpone society’s inevitable collapse. The current focus on inventors rivets not only those wishing to gain fame, but those wishing to change the world. Some corporations hope to hasten the process:
- Simon Cowell and the producers of “American Idol” will unveil “American Inventor” in Spring 2006. ABC’s primetime reality show plans to uncover the hottest retail products and make some struggling inventor’s dream come true. In typical “Idol” fashion, America will vote to determine which inventor is worthy of a $1 million prize. Individuals and teams auditioned in six cities for the chance to be on the show (an audition in Austin, Texas, had to be cancelled due to production concerns).
- The History Channel, in conjunction with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Time Magazine and the National Inventors Hall of Fame, will announce the finalists of its Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge in February. The winner will receive a $25,000 grant and have her or his invention recognized as the 2006 Modern Marvel of the Year.
Betsey Martin, an information specialist for the Arkansas Small Business Development Center, could not place an economic figure on the importance of inventors. But she pointed to something else.
“They represent the spirit of being an entrepreneur in that they’re willing to conquer and cross new frontiers in doing things that have never been done before,” Martin said.
The public values the invention more than the inventor does. The inventor knows there is much more and better where this came from. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American author, poet and philosopher
Here it is — F. Richard Jordan, M.D., holds his epidural electrode for spinal cord stimulation. European doctors use the device for angina, which is cardiac pain (heart), and ischemic pain in the legs. (photo by Sitton)
Dr. F. Richard Jordan, a North Little Rock neurosurgeon, needed something better. For over 30 years, Jordan and other doctors used a flat, rectangular epidural electrode for spinal stimulation in attempts to control chronic pain from a variety of causes.
Adapted from pacemaker technology, this original electrode consisted of a wire with a single contact on the end, which made it difficult to find the correct point of stimulation on the spinal cord. An improved version offered wire electrodes with several contact points, but the dynamic structure of the spine would sometimes cause the wire placement to shift. Engineers came up with a paddle electrode, but Jordan said its shape was wrong for the space where it needed to fit. Continue reading