Invention at Play





Inventors’ Stories
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Learn from the Inventors

Have you ever watched a child use a cup for a hat? Or a hat for a bowl? Because they don’t necessarily know the accepted uses of many things, children invent their own. And often, even when they learn the “right” use, kids find new and imaginative ways to play with familiar things.

The inventors in this section retained this spirit of improvisation, combining it with expertise in one or multiple fields. For example, one might wonder what ants have to do with robots, or art supplies with the telegraph. James McLurkin models the communication patterns of his tiny robots on the behavior of swarming insects like ants and bees. Samuel Morse, a portrait artist by training, built the first electric telegraph out of a canvas stretcher and materials from his brother’s print shop. These inventors stepped over the boundaries of one field to adopt the tools or strategies of another.












James McLurkin
James McLurkin 
Robotic Ants Inventor


Robotic Ants


“The goal is to explore ideas about robot communities using one of the best examples around--nature.”



Other Inventors in "Jump the Tracks":


John Fabel

John Fabel 
Ecotrek™ Backpack Inventor





Howard Head

Howard Head 
Ski Inventor






Chuck Hoberman

Chuck Hoberman 
Unfolding Structures Inventor




Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse 
Electric Telegraph Inventor








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Robotic Ants

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