Six Degrees of the Steve Wozniak
As we all may have noticed at some point there is a list of references cited adorning the face of every US patent. Utilizing these lists of references cited, patents can be connected to other patents through the references cited on their own face, as well as the instances where the patent is cited on a subsequent patent’s face. By connecting patents in this manner a network begins to form and begs the question: How many steps would it take to connect any patent with any other patent?
So, starting with any patent where would we find ourselves after 6 steps through the references cited network? Today reach back into computer history with Apple’s other Steve (Wozniak).
Start: US 4,136,359 A, Steve Wozniak’s revolutionary microcomputer for use with a video display
First Degree: US 6,393,145 B2, Microsoft’s techniques for improving the resolution of images on a patterned display
Second Degree: US 5,847,698 A, an electronic book device with a flat panel screen
Third Degree: US 7,239,842 B2, a talking electronic book
Fourth Degree: US 6,526,335 B1, an automobile personal computer system
Fifth Degree: US 5,952,941 A, a satellite based system for monitoring traffic violations
Sixth Degree: US 6,224,109 B1, a credit card with a driver’s license printed on it
So there you have it, in 6 steps you can connect Wozniak’s personal computer with a credit card displaying personal identification. While this journey represents one connection path for the computer Wozniak patent, feel free to follow your own path of patent connection intrigue and share it in the comments section below. Have a suggestion for an inventor or invention you would like to see in the Six Degrees post? Share that in the comments too!