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10 Famous Inventors Never Made Any Money With Their Inventions

Inventors are what push us forward as a species – some of them slave for years with dogged determination, and some of them chance upon it by sheer accident – and these inventions fundamentally change the way we live our lives. In this list we tip our hats to the inventors who, for whatever reasons, never made a killing from their inventions. We use all of them to this day and our lives are all the more convenient for it.

1. John Walker – Matchsticks

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This benevolent genius gave us fire, well, he gave us matchsticks and that’s more or less the same thing.

He worked as a small time chemist and he invented matches in the 1820’s which went on to change lives. But he refused to patent his invention against the advice of his friends and well-wishers because he wanted to make sure it was available for everyone.

2. Daisuke Inoue – Karaoke Machine

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Karaoke Machines, although Daisuke is responsible for the invention he never patented it and thus never made any money.

All the fun we have when we go karaoke we owe to Daisuke Inoue and while he made no money from his invention, let’s at least tip our hat to this Japanese businessman. Daisuke made money from playing drums in a backing band which let bar goers sing. One time he could not make a gig and so he put the backing music on a tape and later made 11 karaoke machines which he leased out. But the shortsighted businessman did not patent his invention and so he never made any money off it.

3 . Mikhail Kalashnikov – AK-47

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This soldier was responsible for the AK-47, at least it was named after him – Avtamat Kalashnikova.

Perhaps the most popular assault rifle, the AK-47 was invented by a Soviet Army soldier Mikhail Kalashnikov while he was in the hospital recovering from injuries he sustained in World War II. Since it was invented in 1947 more than 100 million have been manufactured and while the official manufacturer patented the design in the 90s, Kalashnikov never did – he always maintained that he had created it for the benefit of his country.

4 Sir Christopher Cockerell – The Hovercraft

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Although he invested his life in experiments towards the hovercraft, he had to fight to receive his due.

A lot of effort went into Sir Christopher Cockerell’s hovercraft. He conducted extensive experiments with a vacuum cleaner and tin cans to test his theories, and as the idea developed he was forced to sell some of his possessions to fund his work. Although Cockerell patented the design he had to fight for years to receive money that was owed to him by the National Research Development Corporation who put the hovercraft into production.

5 Sir Tim Berners-Lee – The Internet

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We owe this man our convenient lives, for he gave us the World Wide Web and he gave it to us for free.

We owe this article we are reading, and almost every aspect of our daily existence that has been simplified to a click of a button to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the web to help scientists working at the European research laboratory at CERN. The first website was built at CERN in 1991, and from there the internet was developed. Sir Tim did not patent his idea and to this he has attributed the success of his invention, the fact that it was made available freely.

6 Harvey Ball – The Smiley


A bit of harsh irony behind the most positive symbol of them all – the smiley!

Before the smiley went on to explode into its own language of emoji it was invented by Harvey Ball who first designed the emoticon in 1963. It was used to boost employee morale at an insurance company and he earned 45 dollars for the original design. He never patented it and the smiley took off and became very popular.

7 Nick Holonyak Jr – LED Bulb

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Did not seek recognition after inventing the LED Bulb, not even the Nobel Prize.

Nick Holonyak Jr invented the light emitting diode or LED in 1962 and predicted it had the potential to replace Edison’s lightbulb. While Holonyak’s colleagues believed he deserved the Nobel prize for his invention, the modest inventor said “It’s ridiculous to think that somebody owes you something. We’re lucky to be alive, when it comes down to it.”

8 Trevor Bayliss – Wind-Up Radio

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The Wind-Up Radio still has high sales, but the inventor lost ownership of his product when the design was upgraded.

The man behind the wind-up radio and several other inventions Trevor Bayliss has said, “Most of us don’t do it for the money but for the buzz. I know that at least I’ve left my mark with the radio, the wind-up torch and other things I’ve invented.” Sir Trevor’s device was invented in response to the need to communicate about AIDS to people in Africa. Although recently it was said that he could no longer afford to live in his home in Twickenham, London, because despite the high sales, the company he went into business with were able to tweak his design and he lost control over the product and profits.

9 Douglas Engelbart – Computer Mouse


He invented the computer mouse even before people figured out what to do with it.

Douglas Engelbart’s invention was ahead of its time, he invented the computer mouse and patented it in 1968, when he came upon the idea. But the patent expired in 1987 and it was only after that the technology became widely used – since then nearly a billion computer mice have been sold.

10 Laszlo Biro – Ball-Point Pen


Ball-Point Pen was Biro’s invention, but he sold too quick to BIC before he could make any money.

Exasperated with leaky fountain pens, Laszlo Biro invented and patented the ballpoint pen in 1938. But Biro sold it to Marcel Bich shortly after in 1945 whose company BIC pocketed a huge chunk of the cash from the 1090 billion pens that have been sold since.

And so that brings us to the end of yet another list. While some of these inventors believed their inventions were for the benefit of the people, the others were gypped out of what was rightfully theirs. Least we can afford them is recognition.

Intels 3D Vision Eyes Technology Enables Robots And Drones To See

Robots that move around and do the heavy lifting, drones that drop off stuff you ordered on-line an hour before, self-driving cars, even self-driven vacuum cleaners that don’t bump into the furniture – it’s all part of the big technology revolution that 3D vision is on the verge of bringing to the world.

And according to Igal Iancu, a senior manager on Intel’s RealSense 3D vision tech team, based in Haifa, none of it is going to be possible without a heavy dose of made-in-Israel technology.

Israel is a hub of innovation in machine vision, chip development, and 3D technology,” Iancu told The Times of Israel in an exclusive interview. “Israel was the natural place for the development of RealSense, which combines hardware and software to bring human-like senses to personal devices, so they can experience the world like we do.

The idea of RealSense, said Iancu, is to enable devices to “see” in the same way humans do. “When we look at the world around us, our brains automatically build a 3D model of our surroundings. They identify objects like people, animals, and pieces of furniture and figure out how big and far away they are. By introducing Intel RealSense 3D cameras, Intel is enabling devices to see like us, so they can understand the people using them and the world around them. This will allow us to interact with our devices in a much more natural way and have an immersive experience.

RealSense sees the distance between objects, separating objects from the background layers behind them. This gives much better object, facial and gesture recognition than a traditional camera, according to the company. This visual data creates a touch-free interface that responds to – and understands – hand, arm, and head motions as well as facial expressions.

3D vision eyes technology in which 3D cameras can be used to interact with computers, TVs, and gaming consoles – has been around for a few years. One of the original pioneers in 3D vision tech was an Israeli firm called PrimeSense, which supplied technology to Microsoft to enable it to build the Kinect 3D interface, used in Sony’s Xbox gaming console (PrimeSense was subsequently bought in 2013 by Apple for $350 million). Many other Israeli firms, such as Omek Interactive (bought by Intel in 2013) are also responsible for important breakthroughs in the field.

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Can The Electronic Cigarette Really Help You Quit Smoking?

I got advice from many people to get rid from cigarette they told me tons of methods to try out I tried cold turkey. I tried using lollipops or candies as an oral fixation. I got 14 cavities but I still smoked

Spike Babaian, President of the National Vapers’ Club, on trying to quit before switching to the e-cigarette.

Many people use the word quitting when they actually mean switching. They are quitting tobacco, tar and combustion but continue to use nicotine.


Currently no electronic cigarettes are licensed to be sold as quit smoking aids. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be licensed to be used as such in the future, though, and a new government-funded study in New Zealand plans to examine ecigs ability to do this.

Current Studies

While there are word of mouth reports that the e-cigarette can help people to quit, there have been no long term studies to prove this. We know from nicotine cessation aids that many people can quit in the short term, only to resume smoking in the long term.

However, there have been several studies which suggest the possibility that e-cigarette can help people to quit. A study in New Zealand found that the electronic cigarette was effective in reducing nicotine cravings, and rated slightly above the nicorette inhaler for reducing irritability, restlessness, poor concentration and the need for a cigarette.

A separate study by Dr Eissenburg found that current smoking cessation methods failed to address smoking related stimuli:

These results indicate that, while some tobacco abstinence symptoms may be suppressed with nicotine, suppressing others may also require strategies that address the absence of smoking-related stimuli.

It appears that the role of nicotine in addiction to smoking has been exaggerated and that there are behavioral aspects to the addiction that play a very important role.

It’s a position that Professor Michael Siegel agrees with, stating:

It appears that the role of nicotine in addiction to smoking has been exaggerated and that there are behavioral aspects to the addiction that play a very important role.

If these doctors are correct, and the e-cigarette can successfully provide smoking related stimuli as well as addressing nicotine cravings, it is possible they will be effective at helping people quit in the future.

Download Our Full Guide To Quit Smoking In 30 Days

News: Uber using technology to avoid fines from Queensland government

Uber is continuing to help top up the state’s coffers, with another 171 drivers fined for operating with the service in Brisbane in the past six months.

That netted the state $191,431 in fines, on top of the more than $1.7 million the Department of Transport fined Uber drivers the year before.

But it still pales in comparison to the collective value of taxi licences to the state, which last month was valued at $1,345,658,054.  That $1.3 billion figure does not include vehicle or equipment costs and only takes into account the value of taxi licences to the state.

Uber using technology to avoid fines from Queensland government

Uber drivers have been fined since a cease and desist order was issued by the Newman Government in May last year.

But the rate of drivers being fined is dramatically declining.  In the year following the cease and desist order, the state issued 538 drivers a total of 1536 fines.

In the months since April 2015, the Department has issued just 171 fines, with 126 paying the infringement notice, 44 electing to try their luck in court and one still to be finalised. In the last month, no Uber driver was fined.

Acting director of the Department of Transport and Main Roads for taxis and limousines Noela Cerutti told a parliamentary committee last month that it was becoming increasingly difficult running covert operations to catch Uber drivers out, with the company blocking the phones of known inspectors from booking through its app.

“Covert actions of booking an Uber driver have actually been hampered recently by Uber themselves,” she said in October.

“They now can, with their technology, recognise not only a sim card, but the handset.

“…So that then is able, that phone and that sim card, to actually connect with their app in the future.

“So we’ve gone through hundreds of phones trying to catch the next driver in doing the wrong thing.

“They have also now changed their customer application process.

“So what used to happen in the past, we would buy visa cards, so we would use those visa that aren’t actually allocated as a person and you would go on and book an Uber driver.

“Now they want all your personal details so you can actually become a customer of Uber.

“We’ve checked…the transport Inspectors aren’t able to use a false name, they have to, in the line of their duty, provide accurate information, so they aren’t willing to provide their personal card to actually do the covert investigations any more.

“We have been thwarted in our compliance.”

Infringement notices issued to Uber drivers, which can be up to $1707 for operating a taxi service without authorisation, are yet to be challenged in the Queensland courts.

Ms Cerutti said the department wanted to ensure it correctly built a case before moving forward.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad ordered a review into Uber and the state’s taxi industry last month. That’s not due to return until August next year.

A bill introduced by the Katter Party, which would see drivers caught driving for Uber three times lose their licence is being reviewed by a Parliamentary Committee, which is due to report back by March next year.