My inventions

A few times in my life, I’ve come up with an idea for an invention. But every single time, I discovered that someone was already working on it. Two of my “inventions” were in the news today.

“Smart glass” is coming to a building near you

How it works: Smart glass, also called “dynamic glass” or “electrochromic glass,” differs from regular glass in that its tint level can be adjusted on demand — think Transitions glasses, but for buildings.

  • Smart glass contains thin layers of metal oxide. When small amounts of electricity are applied to those layers, ions move between them, changing the glass’ tint level.
  • When the summer sun is hitting the side of a building, the tint level can be increased, allowing visible light to pass but blocking some solar radiation — thereby reducing incoming heat.
  • Conversely, the tint can be decreased in colder seasons, allowing more natural heat to pass through.

I independently came up with this idea around 1997. Then I went to EPCOT Center’s “House of the Future” and saw someone had already made it!

Single-Dose ‘Polypill’ Found to Save Lives, Prevent Heart Attacks in Major New Trial

A three-in-one drug combo can help people with a history of heart attacks stay healthy, new research shows. The randomized clinical trial found that people who took the bundled medication, also known as a polypill, went on to experience fewer heart attacks, strokes, or cardiovascular-related deaths than those given standard care. The findings may pave the way for the polypill to become a common heart treatment moving forward.

Around 2001, while in medical school, I came up with the idea of an “omnipill” and hypothesized that consistently taking one pill over time would have superior outcomes to managing multiple separate pills. Then later that year I saw that a “polypill” was already in clinical trials. My original version had aspirin, an ACE-inhibitor, a beta-blocker, and a statin. This current polypill doesn’t have a beta-blocker. They have kind of fell out of favor for hypertension in recent years.

What strikes me when I read these articles is the fact we are 25 and 21 years later, respectively. The creators of these products have been continuously working for over 2 decades to bring these ideas to fruition. The era of smart glass and the polypill is always just over the horizon.

I guess that means it may be for the best that I didn’t pursue my ideas. I wouldn’t have gotten rich (yet) and I would still be struggling to make the world a better place.


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