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10.10 Government policy, legislation and regulations

To a certain extent it's possible for governments to stimulate invention by providing incentives for manufacturers to develop new products and for consumers to buy and use them. One example of this process is in the field of vehicles powered by alternative fuels.

In the USA the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) was passed to reduce US dependence on imported petroleum. The EPAct required federal and governmental departments with fleets over a certain size to acquire a percentage of alter
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10.9.3 New manufacturing process

One of the reasons that a new device, like an RFID tag, has a chance of becoming mainstream technology is that a new manufacturing process has been invented that allows production on an industrial scale and at a relatively low cost.

Fluidic self-assembly (FSA) is a new manufacturing process that has been patented by Alien Technology Corp in the USA. In the FSA process tiny integrated circuits – trademarked as NanoBlocks – are suspended in liquid and flow over a substrate surface tha
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10.9 Opportunity offered by a new material, technology or manufacturing process

More often when new materials or technologies appear they are used to improve the performance of existing products. But in an increasing number of cases their appearance can make it possible to create new products.


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10 Part 2: 1 How invention starts

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9 Part 2: Invention

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8 Part 1: 7 Key points of Part 1

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6 Part 1: 5 Dead certs and dead ends

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5.15 Intellectual property and patents

At any stage of the innovation process, from invention to diffusion, a bright idea with market potential can be a target for unscrupulous copying. Or, as you've seen with simultaneous invention, people might be working on similar ideas in parallel and the origins of inventive ideas might be difficult to identify with precision. So it is sensible for inventors to establish their claim to a particular invention and to protect it against unauthorised exploitation by others.

There are diffe
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5.14 Compact fluorescents and new developments

In the case of the electric light there were a series of incremental product innovations (metal filaments, gas filled bulbs, frosted bulbs) as well as process innovations (some of which were mentioned above), which steadily improved performance and reduced price until, by the 1930s, the incandescent light was mature and diffused in many nations.

Then in the mid-1930s a new invention appeared that was to challenge the incandescent lamp – the fluorescent lamp. This was the culmination o
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5.11 Sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation

As it's sometimes difficult to say whether a particular innovation is radical or incremental, a useful distinction made recently is between sustaining innovations and those that are disruptive. You'll read more about these ideas in Part 3.

Briefly, a sustaining innovation is a new or improved product that meets the needs of most current customers and serves to sustain leading firms in their market position. So in this context improvements to gas lighting, say, would be sustaining
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5.10 Radical innovation and incremental innovation

The electric light might be said to be an example of a radical innovation – a new product, process or system resulting from a technological breakthrough, or an application of a technology having a far-reaching impact.

Radical innovations can have a widespread and sometimes revolutionary impact on our lives and are said by some to account for technological progress. However, as you saw with the example of the telephone, most radical innovations are actually an accumulation of mu
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5 Part 1: 4 Key concepts

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9.1.2 Limits

Second, decide the limits and the variations to the user trip or trips that you are going to take. It is usually a good idea to extend the trip into activities that both precede and succeed the immediate use of the product you are investigating since this may lead you into devising an improved, more integrated overall solution. Similarly, variations on a basic trip – different times of day, different weather conditions, different requirements – will probably bring to light a wider range o
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8.8 Hinduism as ‘a world religion’: a more recent understanding

Traditionally, as we have seen, a Hindu was someone born to Hindu parents and into a caste with its appropriate dharma. The link between religious practice and a whole way of life bound the individual into a community from birth. Regional factors, parentage and caste affiliation largely determined the
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Conclusion

This free course provided an introduction to studying the arts and humanities. It took you through a series of exercises designed to develop your approach to study and learning at a distance and helped to improve your confidence as an independent learner.


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Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you to
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2.3 The significance of Volksgemeinschaft in Nazi ideology

Hitler made no reference to Kristallnacht in his speeches at the time of the event. Less than three months later, however, on 30 January 1939, he gave a two-hour address to the Reichstag. The speech focused principally on the international situation but contained the ‘prophecy’ that a new war would bring about ‘the destruction Vernichtung of the Jewish race in Europe’. The ‘prophecy’ was singled out in newsreel coverage of the speech, yet neither the official
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2.3.4 War

MacLean's love poems present a situation where the speaker is baffled by stasis. He cannot act. Frustration in love is involved with political frustration.

Gaelic tradition values men of action – often heroes who died in defeat. The battle cry of the MacLeans, ‘Fear eile air son Eachainn’ (‘Another One for Hector’), recalls the battle of Inverkeithing in 1651, when the seventeenth chief of the clan, ‘Red Hector of the Battles’, fell in action. Clansman after clansm
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1.1 Introduction

One of the most impressive but puzzling capacities we have is the ability to represent the world around us, both in talking about it among ourselves and in thinking about it as individuals. When someone utters the sentence, ‘The German economy is bouncing back’, for example, they are able to convey to their audience something about the German economy. Their utterance may be correct or it may be incorrect, but either way it is making a claim about how things are, and in this loose but intu
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Acknowledgements

This course was written by Dr Sean Crawford

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the fo
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