CNET goes inside Intellectual Ventures, the controversial company that's in the business of patents and other intellectual property, including laser-guided mosquito killers.
Into the labs
BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The creation arm of Intellectual Ventures is its network of laboratories. Located a short drive from the company's corporate headquarters are a series of buildings where the company is at work on things it hopes to patent. These range from mosquito-killing lasers, to contraptions that keep vaccines cold for months at a time. Click through for a peek at the lab facilities and the few lab efforts under way that the company lets outsiders see.
Seen here, a human skeleton wearing an IV lab coat with an "intern" badge.
If you think this contraption looks like a projector, you'd be right. The thing is, it's projecting death. For mosquitos, that is. The technology, which has been public for years but has yet to be introduced in any commercial application, identifies female mosquitos and shoots them dead with a laser beam. The technology was developed to combat malaria, though the company says it's working to tweak it to identify other types of harmful insects.
To help demo its murderous laser technology, IV has to raise its own mosquitos in-house. Of note, the mosquitos in this cage aren't killed in the demos. IV shows it off by using a non-lethal green laser.
Like most businesses, IV names its buildings and rooms after things. That trickles down to bathrooms as well. In this case, it's the "Thomas Crapper Memorial Bathroom." While an inventor, Crapper was not the inventor of the toilet.
IV's specialty microscope was designed to spot hemozoin -- a waste product that blood-feeding parasites leave behind. That includes malaria, which this invention was designed to spot more quickly and cheaply without the use of sending samples to a lab.
This isn't a high-tech milk jug, but it's a distant cousin. Currently known as Project Cold Chain, this cooler technology has been designed to keep vaccines cold for months at a time, allowing them to be sent out to remote parts of the world that may not have the facilities for a dedicated refrigeration system.
When the company wants to think up new things, it has brainstorming sessions. It will pull together people from various disciplines, effectively lock them in this room for the day, and try to come up with answers.
The first thing you see walking into the headquarters is a giant T-Rex head with its mouth wide open. In fact, this is the same one from Jurassic Park, something company co-founder Nathan Myhrvold acquired and brought in to have mounted on the wall.