John Tolley, October 26, 2016

Since 1925, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation has racked up quite a roster of patents.

That?s kind of the point.

A nonprofit institution, WARF exists to support scientific investigations and research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by stewarding a ?cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment.?

A by-product of WARF?s impressive list of patents is an equally impressive archive of patent drawings, a legally required part of nearly every patent application in the U.S.

Recently, WARF partnered with the Wisconsin Union Directorate, the student programming and leadership board of the Wisconsin Union, to display these unique diagrams. The exhibit showcases the sometimes offbeat yet always innovative ideas that have made the University of Wisconsin-Madison a leading engine for invention.

Below are but a few of the drawings that you can see now through November 14th at the Union South gallery in Madison, WI.


This patent drawing from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation shows an ultrasonic method for ripening cheese.
It?s no secret Wisconsin is cheese country. This drawing illustrates an innovative method for ripening cheese faster, using ultrasonic sound waves, thus reducing the need for costly storage.



University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers' patent drawing for a cancer radiation therapy treatment
Doctors and researchers have long sought to refine radiation therapy in an effort to target cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. This drawing illustrates a patented method to better control the intensity of the radiation beams, here artfully distributed in a ?W? pattern.



WARF patent drawing for plant growing method using altered phytochromes
Patents are not, of course, always mechanical in nature. This patent, for altering the phytochromes of plants so they can grow in the dark, may lead to greater crop yields in sub-optimal conditions, helping to feed our hungry planet.



Patent drawing for a solar cooker from WARF
A creation of the university?s Solar Energy Lab, this solar cooker is an early example of green technology. This easily manufactured device could just as easily be deployed in developing nations or disaster relief situations.