Thursday, May 1, 2008

A look inside one of the world's top innovators

The BBC recently had the chance to look inside Xerox's PARC (Palo Alto Research Centre), a world-renowned centre for innovation which has delivered the world such elements basic to our daily lives as the computer graphical user interface, laser printing and ethernet among many others (a more comprehensive list can be found here).

The article describes 6 of their innovations which they believe can help the world develop sustainably. The innovations (and their envisaged impact) are:
  • Rare Cell Detection - Can replace amniocentesis and can be used for detection of certain cancers
  • Erasable Paper - Erases itself after 24 hours - can reduce the amount of paper used
  • Smaller and more efficient Solar Panels - Smaller, more durable and more efficient solar panels
  • Spiral Cleaning - Can be used for wastewater treatment or water treatment
  • Biomass plastic - Replaces 30% of the oil content in plastic with biomass
  • 3D print preview - Helps view a document from multiple perspectives before printing
It is particularly interesting to note the quote from the Chief Technology Officer of PARC - she says "I think it is extremely critical to continuously come up with innovative ideas and work with your partners to turn them into innovations that the customers of the world can benefit from."

It is good to see that both PARC and L-RAMP share the view that impact requires both innovation and commercialization. The innovations listed are exciting and we look forward to being able to benefit from some or all of them in the near future.

1 comment:

Arun Sharma said...

I find it particularly interesting that while Xerox PARC developed the computer graphical user interface (GUI), it was Apple who were able to commercialize it successfully and have thus been considered the leaders in the GUI field for the the past 2 decades.

It has been said that success requires both inspiration (aka innovation) and implementation - the history of the GUI raises the question of which is more important.