OnQ Blog

Celebrating Inventors' Day, the Inventor's Way

Feb 11, 2014

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

There’s no special day that Qualcomm loves more than National Inventors' Day. Held every year on Thomas Edison’s birthday (and created by Proclamation 5013, signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983), it’s a celebration of everyone who creates wonderful new things that have never before existed.

To share our excitement, we’ve had some fun with cameras, hallways, and a really big picture of our co-founder (and one of our favorite inventors), Dr. Irwin Jacobs. Take a look:

This anamorphic illusion was created in two of the coolest, favorite places on Qualcomm’s San Diego campus. (We chose two spots to ensure we got just the right results—hey, Inventors' Day only comes around once a year.) The first, a manufacturing plant, is where we assemble all kinds of crazy prototype devices. We give the best of those devices to engineers and partners to test and build upon.

Our second shoot was filmed in a workspace we like to call the “Tech Cave.” It’s a 1,100 square foot space filled with flight simulator pods, an XBox360 with Kinect, HDTV systems, a 3D printer and, of course, a full-body massage chair. 

Creating the illusion took a team of seven a full day. They used a projector to beam an image of Dr. Jacobs onto the walls, then outlined the image with brightly colored painter's tape.

The hardest part was finding a great location for the illusion. You need to find a spot that has many surfaces at varying distances. And you’re never quite sure it’s going to work until the illusion is complete.

In the Tech Cave, the team spent an hour just surveying the space. The finished projection roughly covered four walls; three tables, chairs, and ceilings; two flight simulator pods and one booth.

Want to try this yourself?  Here’s a tip from the pros: NEVER MOVE THE PROJECTOR. The slightest jiggle will result in inaccurate application of the tape, which produces… the illusion of a lot of tape.

Using the image of a person for this illusion was a lot trickier, than, say, writing a word or drawing a simple figure. But Dr. Jacobs embodies the ideals of Inventors' Day. He holds or co-holds fourteen patents for Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), a technology fundamental to today’s 3G mobile wireless standards. And, as CEO of Qualcomm, he led the company through the introduction and deployment of many technologies that continue to form the basis for many of today’s cutting-edge mobile networks.

He’s officially retired now, but if you ever visit a Qualcomm lab, you have a chance of running into him, checking out the creations of the next generation of inventors.

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PJ Jacobowitz

Staff Manager, Marketing

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