We are strong believers in using creativity to recognize creativity. Creative people are by nature somewhat bored by the “typical”. They like things that stimulate them. This applies in the recognition of creative people as well. Try to find something that really grabs them. Something that they think is cool.

Take Pixar Animation Studios, the ultimate creative company. When Pixar approached us, they wanted something in a traditional patent wall plaque concept, but not at all traditional. For one thing, they wanted a patent wall plaque that incorporated an actual piece of film strip from their movies. Even further, they wanted the film strips to showcase the technology of the patent that the plaque was recognizing.

Talk about an administrative nightmare alone, let alone a technical one. But this was how important they valued creativity, both in people and in recognizing same. Thus, over the course of a year, systems were worked out, prototypes were flying and new technologies, such as light emitting panels, fiber optic cloth and light emitting diodes, were explored.
Now, working with Pixar is an adventure in and of itself. It remains one of the most rewarding and difficult experiences in my career. They are absolute perfectionists. They wanted the “Apple” wall plaque of wall plaques. And in the process of delivering such, their endless pursuit of perfection rubbed off on us.

The final design and how it functions is quite impressive. And like Pixar’s movies, even more so if you knew what went on behind the scenes. It features a matched color print of the patent with a full color image from a movie with a film strip of the same image die cut into the print. The print is sandwiched between a Demetri glass board etched with the Pixar logo and the inventor name and an electronics housing with a circuit board and battery holder. The circuit board contains a programmable Atmel microprocessor with 256 bytes of RAM. The plaque senses hand gestures using a 10.5GHz Doppler radar. Illumination of the film strip is provided by 24 high brightness white LEDs with a color temperature (5600K, CRI 80) chosen for the best spectral output. Both the light intensity and time duration are programmable using hand gesture recognition.

After great expense and over a year of development, the plaques were unveiled at an exclusive event on the Pixar campus. Needless to say, the inventors were very impressed. And justification of all the work and time and cost was vindicated by a single inventors comment – “I think I’ll pay attention during the patent meetings from now on”.