In patent law, the term "invention" is defined loosely so that it can encompass a wide variety of objects. Obviously, if patents have to apply to things that don't exist yet, then the legal language must be fairly vague. In addition to standard technological machines and machine advancements, you can also patent certain computer programs, industrial processes and unique designs (such as tire or shoe-tread patterns). While none of the elements in these creations are new, the inventor may have combined them in a unique and innovative way. In the language of patent law, this constitutes an invention.
Some sorts of ideas are considered outside the realm of patents. No matter how innovative and beneficial they may be, certain notions are automatically public property the minute they are uncovered. The most prevalent examples of this are discoveries in the natural world. Scientists cannot patent laws of the universe, even though defining those laws may revolutionize a particular industry or change how we live. Einstein's Law of Relativity, for example, revolutionized the world of physics and will be forever linked with the man who devised it, but it has never been owned by anybody. This principle existed long before humans did, so, logically, it cannot be any person's intellectual property.
Scientists cannot patent a newly discovered plant or animal, either, though they may be able to patent a new plant or animal that was produced through genetic engineering. This is similar to the patenting of processes and computer programs: a genetic engineer didn't create any of the parts, but the combination of these parts may be novel and nonobvious, and therefore patentable.
Task 8.Prepare a presentation on any inventors.
ROBOTS - THE FUTURE IS NOW
Task 1. Make five predictions about life in 2030, one for each of the following areas: personal life, life of the university, life of the nation, and two other topics of interest to you.
Task 2. Answer the questions.
1. What is a robot, and how do people use them today?
2. How might we interact with robots in the future?
Task 3. Watch this video showing a team of students designing, building and programming a robot out of Legos for a robotics competition and answer the questions.
1. What challenges must the team’s robot meet?
2. Why does the team need to program the robot?
3. What are some functions the team programmed the robot to do?
4. What are the roles of the various sensors in the robot?
5. What kinds of directions can they program?
6. What kind of information did they need to find out?
7. How did the students respond to setbacks?
8. How did they divide and share the work?
9. What did they succeed in being able to do at the competition?
10. What else did you notice as you watched?
· Work in groups. Think of challenges in your own day-to-day life where a robot could be helpful, or think of workplaces and industrial settings that could benefit from robots.
· Brainstorm a design for a robot to tackle this challenge, and prepare to “pitch” your idea to a team of “engineers,” who will vote on which project will receive financing to develop it for commercial or personal use.
· Your pitch should include a product name and logo, information about the challenge they’ve identified, sketches and descriptions of their robot, and the solution your robot offers.
· Consider the following in designing your robots:
1. What problem or challenge does the robot solve?
2. What are some of the functions you will program your robot to carry out?
3. What materials will it be made out of? Why?
4. How will the robot sense its surroundings?
5. How will it move and respond to the environment?
6. How or why is a robot better equipped to handle this challenge than a human?
7. What specific functions will the robot carry out? What components will the robot include that help it carry out these tasks?
8. What will the robot look like? Will it look humanlike? Why or why not?
9. How will the robot’s appearance influence how people interact with it?
10. What limitations does the robot have?
· Sketch your designs and label them to indicate functionality, materials, interactivity and so on.
· Try to sell your idea to an “agency” that funds research and development in science and technology.
· The “engineers” might be played by one person from each group.
· Present your ideas to the class, and then vote on the best design.
Task 1a. Watch the video “Robots - The Future is Now” and speak about robot applications.
Task 2. Discuss.
1. What are the advantages of creating a walking robot that is able to maneuver around the surface of the earth like human beings and other creatures that have legs? Make a list of situations for which walking robots would be better suited than wheeled vehicles.
2. In movies, on television, and in books, robots are often (though not always) portrayed as the enemies of humankind. Why do you think science fiction writers depict robots as frightening? What qualities make robots scary to humans?
3. Robots—from miniature earthbound types to those launched into Earth orbit—can be used by our neighbors, the military, local police forces, and our bosses to monitor every movement we make. In a free society that values privacy, there may be a need to put limits on the use of such surveillance-type robots. Take an inventory of the surveillance technology that is already available in your community and school. What rules do you think should be put into place for the acceptable use of each of these technologies?
4. Artificial limbs may soon be connected directly to the nervous system so that the brain can command them to walk, grasp, wave hello, or even write a novel. Soon we may even be able to send commands to robots by mental telepathy. Will the next step be the creation of a robot brain that can think, learn, and make decisions without human control? Is this a good idea? What technological challenges stand in the way of this happening? Why do so many people think that this will never and should never happen?
5. It’s probably obvious why it would be better to use a robot than a human to perform certain functions—like diffusing a bomb, for instance, or fighting in a war. On the other hand, would you want a robot pitcher on your favorite baseball team? A robot teacher in your classroom? A robot psychiatrist or president? A robot parent? A robot best friend? What qualities do humans have that you think could never be replaced by robots? Why?
Task 1. Work with a partner. Discuss some innovations in the sphere of architecture and construction. What environmentally friendly building technologies and materials can you think of? Use the Internet if necessary to help you find information.
Task 2. Look through the text ‘Cork floors, old pickle barrels’. Check the meaning of the words in italic. Use a dictionary if necessary.
Task 3. Read the text ‘Cork floors, old pickle barrels’.
CORK FLOORS, OLD PICKLE BARRELS
When the Chesapeake Bay Foundation moves into its new headquarters later this year, employees will use flushless toilets and wash their hands in unheated rainwater.
A system of computerized red and green lights will tell them when, in the interest of energy efficiency, whether they should open or close windows. Photo sensors will turn off the lights when there is enough natural light shining through the glass walls looking out over the Chesapeake Bay.
Rain that runs off the parking lot will be routed through two filtering systems and wetlands before entering the bay, at which time it is supposed to be pure enough to drink.
Those are just a few of the features incorporated in what foundation officials think will be one of the "greenest" office buildings ever built.
Chuck Foster, director of fleets and facilities for the foundation, said environmental criteria guided every decision, from the selection of building materials and office furniture, to landscaping, to the height of outdoor lighting, which is low to reduce the impact on birds at night.
"Every building material was looked at" with environmental questions in mind, Foster said. What was the recyclable content? How long was the life cycle? How far would materials be transported from the manufacturing site to the construction site? How much packing material would be used?
And, looking far into the future, the final question: "When it dies, can it be made into something useful again?" Foster said.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, an environmental group that works to restore the health of the bay, has offices scattered in several locations around Annapolis. It spent several years looking for a site for a new headquarters.
It settled on a 33-acre (13-hectare) tract on the Chesapeake Bay in the community of Bay Ridge at the mouth of the Severn River, a few miles from downtown Annapolis. A $7.5 million gift from Philip Merrill, publisher of Washingtonian Magazine, The (Annapolis) Capital and four other newspapers, provided the major funding for the headquarters.
Tom Eichbaum, partner in Smith Group Architects, which designed the building, said residential development of the property would have had a more negative impact on the environment than its use by the bay foundation.
Eichbaum said it was fun to design what he called "this wonderful puzzle that is slowly emerging." One example of an environmentally friendly design element: using cork flooring throughout most of the building instead of carpeting, even though carpeting would have cost less. Cork is quiet, is a warm color and does not give off harmful gases as does some carpet. Plus, it is a renewable resource, Eichbaum said.
"You harvest cork and the tree remains alive. You're not destroying a forest," he said. The designers used wood from old pickle barrels salvaged by Foster to build sun screens that will reduce heat from the summer sun but allow sun to help heat the building in winter.
They used galvanized siding for the exterior walls. Foster said the siding has a high recyclable content, requires little maintenance, is manufactured within 300 miles (500 kilometers) of the site and "is flat and required minimal packaging."
Energy use got a lot of attention.
About one-third of the energy will come from renewable sources, including solar panels to heat water for showers and laundry and geothermal heat pumps operating in 300-foot (90-meter) deep wells to assist in heating and cooling the building.
Foster estimates the building will use only about one-third as much energy from conventional sources as a traditional office building.
Those flushless toilets, with wastes going directly into composting bins, will contribute to large reductions in water use. Foster estimates the building will use only about 10 percent as much water from wells or public water supplies as a conventional building.
All this environmental concern does not come cheap. The costs will be around $200 a square foot, considerably more expensive than a standard building but "not too far out of line with a very high-end building," Foster said. He estimates efforts to make the building as green as possible added about $50 a square foot to the $7.5 million project.
There will be some long-term savings from reduced energy use and reduced maintenance, but not enough to make up the difference, Foster said.
"Our board wanted us to set an example, to show people what can be done," Foster said.
Task 4.Answer the following questions.
1. What is so unusual about the new headquarters of the Shakespeare Bay Foundation?
2. On what principle were building materials chosen?
3. Where is the new building located?
4. What is an example of environmentally friendly design element?
5. What are the benefits of using cork flooring instead of carpeting?
6. What materials did designers use for the exterior walls of the building?
7. How much energy will come from renewable sources?
8. What are these renewable sources?
9. What devices can assist in heating and cooling the building?
10. Is this environmental concern cheap?
Task 5. Write a summary of the text. In no more than 10-12 sentences, express the main idea and the general content of the text.
Task 6. Express your own opinion of the text.
Introduction. Our world is constantly changing and developing. New ideas, methods and technologies are emerging all the time and are so numerous that it is hardly possible to count them. And something that was modern a year ago may now seem not quite up-to-date and even old-fashioned. Innovations are extremely diverse and are present in all spheres of our life. Some innovations are really very useful and practical; some are more for fun and pleasure. Why not try and look for some interesting innovations?
· Work in groups of 3-4 people. You are to find information about three different innovations (preferably in the sphere of engineering, technology or business). While looking for information you are free to use the internet sites given below as well as any other online resources.
· Summarize all the information you have found and make a short presentation in front of the class. In your presentation you may speak about all the three innovations you have read about or you are free to concentrate on one particular innovation.
Definition of innovations:
Some sites where you can find information:
Popular search engines:
Task 1a. Answer the questions.
Can you think of any things we use in everyday life that are not very well designed?
Do you think there are needs that no one has yet filled with the appropriate invention?
Task 2a. Choose one of the following assignments and follow the instructions.
A. Find an item used at home, university, or another place you frequent, that is not designed well, and redesign it to make it easier for people to use. (Designs may be presented as drawings or physical mock-ups. Mock-ups may be made from any materials available. They do not necessarily have to work, just so they represent what the real item would look like, either full size or to scale.)
B. Think of a problem that hasn't been solved or a need that hasn't been met, and design an invention to provide a solution or fill that need.
Respond in writing to the following:
1. Define the problem.
2. Give causes for the problem.
3. Describe your solution.
4. Tell why your solution will improve the situation.
Task 3a. Prepare five-minute oral presentations.
Task 1.Discuss these questions.
What do you they think of when they hear the word technology?
When do you think technology began?
Task 2. Watch the video “Modern Technology” and check your answers.
Task 3. Answer the questions.
Why is the world getting smaller?
What are good and bad purposes of modern technology?
What are your favourite electronic devices? Do you think you could live without them?