Six Degrees of the Floppy Disk
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 we reminisce in patent network with a classic memory, the floppy disk.
Start: US 3,678,481 A, a flexible magnetic data storage disk
First Degree: US 4,826,019 A, a handling apparatus for magnetic recording disks
Second Degree: US 5,998,751 A, an system for sorting computer chips
Third Degree: US 5,470,427 A, an automated printer for labeling mail trays
Fourth Degree: US 7,783,571 B2, an ATM system for receiving cash deposits in foreign transactions
Fifth Degree: US 6,027,216 A, an apparatus for assessing the direction of fixation of an eye
Sixth Degree: US 6,834,202 B2, a blood flow measuring apparatus
So there you have it, in 6 steps you can connect outdated data storage mediums with new ways to measure a patient’s blood flow. While this journey represents one connection path for the floppy disk 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!