Eureka: Hello InventionS

Once upon a time, "inventor" was an honest-to-god occupation. You could check a box, and tell the U.S. Census Bureau that's what you were. Now, inventors are as-seen-as-on-TV caricatures and "innovation" is a corporate-speak. We want to celebrate invention. Eureka.

Eureka evokes mythological giants of genius like Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison. World-changing products like the bidet, and Post-It notes and the telephone. Mad scientists like Doc Brown. Hot tub time machines. Modern day savants and tinkerers like Dean Kamen and Sir James Dyson. It's also corporations, like Microsoft and Apple, developing natural user interface technologies and wonderful toys. Crappy Taiwanese firms re-imagining what can hump USB ports. Intellectual Ventures wants to lead us toward new ways of inventing, treating ideas like software to be licensed and sold.

The nature of invention today is very different than it was a hundred years ago, but the essential element, the marvel of human ingenuity in all its forms, is still very much the same. That's what we want to wrap our heads around this week.

Eureka is our week-long meditation on the wonders of invention, inventors and genius.

Illustration by our contributing illustrator Sam Spratt. Check out Sam's portfolio and become a fan of his Facebook Artist's Page.