By Jack Rumble: ePublishing Specialist at the RSC
Hello, and welcome to our new(ish) Innovation blog. I’m Jack Rumble, part of our Innovation and Technology team.
Working in publishing, for anybody even remotely interested in web technology, is exciting at the moment. We hope to explore and discuss some of the current trends in publishing and technology. As well as discussing some of the work we’re involved in.
We’re very receptive to new ideas, working with new people, and generally having a chin-wag about tech. So please don’t be shy, pop a comment in the box below, or catch me on twitter (@MrJackRumble).
Our team looks after the continued development of the publishing platform, as well as looking after other projects. This leads us to explore many new technologies, which for a group of tech-heads like us is quite fun.
Now that the introductions are out of the way I’d like to use this as an opportunity to announce the RSC’s collaboration with Marblar.
Finding, or even recognising, the potential application for an invention is difficult. It often requires tenacity, serendipity, passion and commitment. But even then, that might not be enough. Sometimes the invention has a different application from its original intended use, and it takes a bit of luck to realise this. The Post-It note for example was an accidental product of a reaction to create a super-strong adhesive performed by Dr Spencer Silver, an American chemist working at the 3M laboratories. It wasn’t until a friend of Dr Silver suggested using the adhesive as a temporary bookmark that the canary yellow product ever came into existence.
An Oxford University spinout called Marblar estimates that almost 95% of technology coming out of university never gets converted to a real world application. The result of much of this technological endeavour is to collect dust. And they intend to change this by encouraging researchers to upload their ideas, and ask the wider community to offer suggestions on potential uses.
Marblar posts these unused technologies in the form of challenges that ask scientists from around the world to find clever new applications. The crowdsourcing platform was founded by four PhD students, and offers prizes to Marblars (thinkers) in the form of points (marbles), prizes and even cash rewards.
The RSC is sponsoring several Marblar challenges, based on research in RSC journals. The first two technologies seeking commercial applications are:
- SlipChip – a microfluidic device designed to perform multiplexed microfluidic reactions without pumps or valve (Lab on a Chip, 2009)
- Correlative Light-Ion Microscopy (CLIM) – a new technique that correlates SEM-like micrographs with fluorescence images (Nanoscale, 2012)
These challenges were launched on Monday 29 October for three weeks, with just under a week left to get entries in!
Thoughts and points of view welcome. And good luck Marblars!
Stay tuned for more, but for now I just wanted to introduce myself.