Trends · June 20, 2022

Innovation Insights 2022

Sometimes you bump into interesting things. Other times you have to go out looking for them.

Last week my team did a little fun activity – go out looking for insights about recent inventions. We decided to look at recent patents filed in the US. We had no idea of what we are going to find but it yielded some interesting facts.

Super inventor

One of the Qualcomm engineers, Tao Luo, has obtained nearly 200 patents in the last 6 months. That’s about a patent a day!

When I saw that figure, I couldn’t believe it. I thought there must be something wrong with the data. So we double checked and it was the correct figure.

How can a person innovate so much? My educated guess is that Tao Luo is directing the research of a big team at Qualcomm which is working on the 5G standards.

The 5G standards are being developed at a crazy pace. Thousands of technical proposals are discussed at each meeting. These standards are so complex that hundreds of thousands of patents are filed on various aspects of them. That’s how you get so many inventions.

AI is King

We found that the inventions related to artificial intelligence are more in number than any other technology.

Our estimate suggests that at least 7,600 new AI inventions have been published in this year. The reason for this explosive increase is the applicability of latest AI inventions to almost every imaginable field of technology. So people from all areas are filing patents on how AI can be applied to their line of work.

Just yesterday I was watching this video showing how AI designed an extremely complex rocket part:

Future tech kitchens

Since we were looking at patents filed in the US, it was natural to expect that greatest number of patents are going to come from inventors residing in the US.

This was true for most technologies but not for all. Interestingly:

  1. Korean inventors top the charts for inventions related to semiconductor chips and display technology.
  2. In technologies related to alloy manufacturing and metal processing, Japanese inventors are more prolific than US inventors.
  3. When it comes to certain optics, China and Japan are ahead of the US.
  4. Japan is also ahead of US in inventions related to electric motors and their control systems.
  5. In wood-working machines, China and Germany are innovating more than the US.
  6. In the area of metal rolling, US is actually behind a number of countries: China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Austria, France, and Italy.

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P. S. Cover Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash