What is Invention: Definition and 67 Discussions

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.
An inventor is a person who creates or discovers an invention. The word inventor comes from the Latin verb invenire, invent-, to find. Although inventing is closely associated with science and engineering, inventors are not necessarily engineers nor scientists.Some inventions can be patented. The system of patents was established to encourage inventors by granting limited-term, limited monopoly on inventions determined to be sufficiently novel, non-obvious, and useful. 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.
Another meaning of invention is cultural invention, which is an innovative set of useful social behaviours adopted by people and passed on to others. The Institute for Social Inventions collected many such ideas in magazines and books. Invention is also an important component of artistic and design creativity. Inventions often extend the boundaries of human knowledge, experience or capability.

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  1. murshid_islam

    I What are some good arguments against mathematics being discovered?

    What are some good arguments against mathematics being discovered (or for it being invented)?
  2. 256bits

    What was the original purpose of the chainsaw?

    If given the question, I would not have fathomed that the chainsaw device with a continuous 'blade' was originally a medical device from the late 18th century. An effort saving machine for lumberjacks cutting wood would have been my first guess. But wrong. But when one thinks about it, the...
  3. G

    Invention of the microwave oven: Chocolate bar anecdote

    Hi. I've just read that microwave ovens were invented 75 years ago. The article mentions the following anecdote: Apparently, Percy Spencer discovered the heating effect of microwave radiation when a magnetron nearby melted a chocolate bar in his pocket. Is this story plausible, wouldn't you...
  4. D

    Physics Love physics: study engineering

    I love physics, I’m literarily fascinated and passionate about it. Although I would like to focus on applying physics on real world projects (more than on research or discovery). Like making a better combustion system on rockets, helping build the fusion reactors they’re trying to make, using...
  5. D

    Physics Is a physics career's main focus Discovery and not Invention?

    Is the main focus of the physics career discovery, leading invention for the engineers? I mean in the hypothetical situation of the building of a rocket, would the physicist spend their time discovering new ways of making combustion or discovering new materials for a spaceship, and the...
  6. amorphos_b

    Exokat [catsuit exoskeleton] and Simbot 8.4 invention idea?

    Exokat [catsuit exoskeleton] and Simbot 8.4 {invention idea} I was watching a documentary wherein a lady Quadriplegic was operating a robotic arm direct from her brain, and I thought to myself, what she needs is a catsuit exoskeleton. So I set out to invent one, don’t know why ~ I just like...
  7. DLeuPel

    I Invention of Napier’s logarithm

    I’m trying to figure out how logarithms we’re invented. In addition, what does the calculator do when I want to solve a logarithm. After researching I found out that you could compare an arithmetic progression with a geometrical one, obtaining the principal properties of exponent calculation...
  8. ISamson

    B Would Mathematics be Considered a discovery or an Invention?

    Sorry for the wrong prefix, but it is the most appropriate one that I could have chosen. I have been for long wondering if mathematics would be considered a discovery about the universe or an invention of the human brain. If it is a discovery, then math is the universal language of the universe...
  9. D

    Engineering How to seek input on a non-patented invention

    I am an undergraduate physics student and I've been working on a personal research project for almost a year which has turned into a design for an invention. I am waiting on a physics professor and a friend who's a mechanical engineer, both very busy people, to review my design and tell me if...
  10. resurgance2001

    B Explain Dark Matter: Verlinde's Theory Tested

    Ok - I have qualified this question with the word stupid so please go gently with me. Imagine you are talking to a rather stupid child when answering please. My question is about dark matter. Every time I do a search for "proof of dark matter", I get the same answer, which is that using the...
  11. G

    Physics Validation of physics projects

    Hello, I have a slightly awkward question: what if someone has a great new engineering/physics project which he thinks might work, however he needs a team of specialists in order to validate it and to assess its feasibility? I've heard that many universities have some kind of "technology...
  12. kolleamm

    How does an idea or invention end up on the news?

    Let's say you invented something, who would you contact to make it public? Such as appear on yahoo news, or in science news articles? I've been working on a pretty cool robot for several years now and was just thinking that it would be pretty cool if it was shared on news websites. Is it even...
  13. stevendaryl

    B How can we get clothes out of a vacuum chamber without condensing water on them?

    I've had the thought for years that it should be possible to dry damp clothes instantly (or almost instantly): You place them into an airtight container, then pump all the air out. In the vacuum, the boiling point of water drops to room temperature, so the water would all boil away, leaving...
  14. Arubi Bushlee

    What is the process of invention?

    I make no promises: I came up with this idea for a new kind of nuclear fusion reactor. I do not want to give off any clues to how it works so I am going to be as vague as possible. I think it could be a viable means to nuclear fusion becoming... well, breakeven. I have by no means tested it...
  15. C

    How Efficient Are Turbines and Rapid-Switching Electromagnets for Home Projects?

    well i came on here doing some research on a home project. i would like to know the what the energy output a turbine has and if there is an electromagnet capable of turning off and on quickly while repelinng other magnets, and the amount of energy it would use
  16. Thinkingmachine

    A A new invention but no completed

    I am doing business with a Japanese partner to help japanese people to remain safe during earthquakes which require building a small metallic shelter in their homes, it should stand the destruction during an earthquake. My question, what metal is the right choice? :oldconfused: It must have...
  17. G

    Has Hedy Lamarr's invention really impacted us today?

    I'm sure you've all seen the Google Doodle of Hollywood starlet Hedy Lamarr. During WWII, she co-invented a method of frequency hopping. I've read articles stating that her invention is widely used in wireless communications today.But was modern frequency hopping independently developed, or...
  18. P

    Whats the diff b/w a fugue and an invention?

    I don't understand the difference. For example, the goldberg variations compared to the art of fugue. Are these both examples of fugues or are Goldberg variations not fugues. Is there a simple way to understand the difference or even better --to be able to instantly recognize a fugue from an...
  19. C

    The invention of a Newton, how was it measured back then?

    Hi, so I learned the definition of a Newton which is Definition of Newton - 1 Newton is the force needed to accelerate 1 kilogram of mass at the rate of 1 metre per second squared. - 1N = kg*(m/s^2) But I'm very curious about one thing What tools did he use, and how could Newton...
  20. E

    Struggling to Invent? Need Ideas for Your Physics Project?

    Hi i have a physics project due in about a week and need to come up with an invention that relates to physics somehow. I'm so stuck and have been thinking and thinking and still i got nothing! I actually have to build a prototype of my idea so anything doable would be great. Any help is...
  21. sunshine1025

    Food Chemist vs. Chemical Engineer- Help

    First, thank you for taking the time to read this. I need some guidance as I am inventing somewhat of a new edible product. Curious as to if someone can point me in the right direction for the type of chemist I should actually be looking for. At first I was under the impression that it would be...
  22. Ganesh Ujwal

    Why nobel prize is awarded for blue led invention .?

    why nobel prize is awarded for blue led invention even though it was invented before? i bought this blue led 2 years back i.e on 2012,
  23. J

    Forcing the Future: 12-Year-Old's Invention Advised

    Hello. I'm only twelve, so my ideas may be flawed,but I would appreciate someone who would advise me about my new invention. I will start with the equations.λ=h/p. The particle wave duality of light is necessary for the function of the solar panel atop the generator. As photons strike this, they...
  24. B

    Dream Invention: Create Your Own Reality!

    Hey guys, I have a presentation to do and it's called my dream invention.It's like I will present something that I had dreamed it would happen or be invented but its outside reality, the thing is that we need one article or something many people have thought about. I was thinking to do like a...
  25. M

    Invention prototype - help please with bent half tube

    Invention prototype -- help please with bent half tube... Hi all, I am in the prototype phase of an invention and I need part that I can't get made and was looking for a few ideas. As you can see the part is double-curved 16 gauge sheet metal. I brought it to a sheet metal shop and the guy...
  26. Nugso

    Invention of Alternating Current

    Hello physicsforums. I'd like to apologize for submitting such a fool thread. Anyway, I'm in disagreemeent with my friend who thinks it was Nikola Tesla who invented AC, but I insist that it was not him. I tried to google it, but I have yet to find a proper answer. He's like, " My physics...
  27. M

    Possible Brain Scanner Invention?

    Hello, I am not sure where I should be posting this, so if this is the wrong section, can a moderator please move it? Right. I have become rather fascinated with the worlds technology and physics. Now, if you've ever heard of lucid dreaming and I'm sure many of you have. I lucid dream...
  28. M

    Next great mathematical invention

    Hi , I was thinking about this , as you know calculus was used many years before the explicit work of both Newton and Leibniz , it was used the hard way , unrecognized , scattered and buried among unrelated formulas and topics. The golden question is ; what if there is another revolutionary...
  29. K

    Invention in need of professional help.

    I have an idea for an invention and I am trying to work out the circuitry. I need some type of rotary switch or another devise that will be user adjustable and assigned to a given weight, then when that weight is achieved on a scale it turns on a basic LED light. I know its a really loaded...
  30. A

    Most Influential Invention, or process invention of the Industrial Revolution

    What single invention between 1775 and 1913 has had the biggest impact on humanity and why? Also it could be a process like say the Bessemer process or a simple item like the lightbulb.
  31. J

    Invention Idea - Cheap Room-Temperature Superconductors Now?

    "Invention" Idea - Cheap Room-Temperature Superconductors Now? I propose that if you encase a superconducting material along with liquid helium (or some other coolant) inside a Dewar flask or Thermos and then insert liquid helium, and then cool the superconductor+liquid helium once down to...
  32. I

    What's a funny physics invention for making a charlie chaplin film?

    Any physics invention for making a super catchy and funny charlie chaplin film?
  33. M

    A Revolutionary Invention: The "Owie Stick

    I had a general idea back in the day dubed "the owie stick". after seeing the movie "district 9", about how the "lightning gun" the main character used would or could work in a real life situation. I looked at it as a big tazer and thought if you shoot multiple conductive darts, one right after...
  34. B

    Thermodynamics: Ideal gas splitting invention problem

    Homework Statement 4. An inventor would like to patent a thermodynamic device and is making the following claims: The device can accept a stream of gas and split it into a hot and cold jet of the same gas. This device is said to contain no moving parts, consumables, or power supply...
  35. G

    Chance to help an Electronic Engineer find a weird material for an invention

    Hello. This is my first post here and I come shamelessly looking for help. I'm an Electronic Engineer and have an idea for an invention but do not know if the type of material that is needed exists, the only one I can think of so far is Bread dough. Anyway, what is needed is something...
  36. K

    A fantastic invention or fantasy?

    An Italian inventor, Andrea Rossi, claims that a 1000 MW nuclear reactor, being constructed in Greece, will become operational in October 2011. I hope he is right; how can one not be happy to have electricity which is ten times less expensive than from coal, and without any pollution? But I am...
  37. rhody

    History History Channel Pilot: Invention USA

    Presenting its programming http://www.tvweek.com/blogs/tvbizwire/2011/05/cable-channel-greenlights-thre.php" Tuesday at the upfronts, History Channel made the announcement that it is greenlighting three new unscripted shows, Deadline.com reported. The new unscripted shows are "Invention USA," in...
  38. M

    Transistor - an important concept of invention?

    Greetings, I had an argument with my substitute Physics teacher about the use of the transistor and how important it is/was. Basically, we were debating whether or not it is important because of the invention or whether it was purely the concept that made it so important. His argument was...
  39. T

    Best invention of the 20th century

    Best invention of the 20th century! I noticed that there is a thread for most pointless invention, how about one for the Best? I will start by saying the transistor, i would like to hear some other views; it's your opinion so you can't be wrong! I will do a poll at the end so even if its...
  40. L

    What Problem did the Invention of Hubs, Switches & Routers Solve?

    Hey guys, I just started a networking course and I'm pretty bogged down with information that I'm trying to put into a rational context. From my understanding, networking first began with the telephone line, which is pretty straightforward. You have the sender and the receiver. Then there was...
  41. B

    Engineer needed to analyze a new invention

    I recently received a patent on a machine designed to convert gravity to mechanical energy. The patent # is 7770389, also there is a additional patent application. Publication # 20090084106. Both can be viewed at the U.S. patent office.
  42. S

    Principle of virtual work invention

    i want to throughly understand the principle of virtual work. why this principle was invented? "sum of work done by forces is zero". such a definition is very vague for me. can anyone explain?
  43. J

    Is mathematics a discovery or invention?

    As I read, this seems to be a tough question, even for Philosophers. Other animals too do some maths concept. A prey understands concepts like bigger/larger/smaller concepts. If the number of predators are higher, it runs away. If it's smaller, it's tries to defend. It's possible that an...
  44. D

    This invention should work ELSE the conservation laws are wrong.

    Last time people concluded that 'I proved the law of conservation of energy and momentum wrong by my invention'...but the reality is strictly opposite. If this invention DOES NOT work THEN then 2 laws are wrong. This invention follows all rules and regulation governed by the physics book...
  45. O

    Kid's invention warns birds about windows

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/01/21/ot-090121-bird-decals.html?ref=rss" This kid is all win. He's going to make a fortune, and for the best reasons. Good for you, Charlie!
  46. E

    Looking for a book on the Invention of Numbers

    I'm reading a for dummies book right now and there is a short paragraph about the invention of numbers. I find it really interesting and I'm wondering if anyone knows of a good book that is written about the invetion of numbers?
  47. wolram

    Modern Invention in the Home: Everyday Essentials

    The every day things in the home, the bath, toilet, cooker, carpet, table, chairs, paint, bed, cup and saucer, knife, spoon , fork, etc, etc. Given that your TV, computer, radio are luxuries, how much do we owe to Modern invention in the home.
  48. E

    Invention in a Dekade: What Can We Expect?

    Okay in this ONE century we got from horsewagons to old school physics, quantum mechanics TV, computers, nano scale, robots, gene tech and so on... In the next centuries we will problably get fusion, maybee quantum computers, cure of deseases, maybee AI, traveling to other planets and so on...
  49. O

    Me With My Invention i.e. Is This Calculator Really Right?

    Hello I'm new here. The reason why I have joined is because I'm working on an invention which I believe will be extremely good for the environment. The question is by how much? My problem is I never paid much attention at school; lessons I’ll be remembering forever include the one, where in...
  50. wolram

    Science or invention, which has contributed most to human comfort?

    Science or invention, which has contributed most to human comfort?