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Impact of Basic Research on Innovation

Image depicts Apple iPod (first generation) with arrows to and from technologies developed with DOE funding.

The development of MP3 technologies illustrates the unexpected benefits of basic research. In 1965, a hand-sized storage and playback device that would hold 15,000 recorded songs was the stuff of science fiction. Even simple hand-held calculators were rare and expensive at that time.

Research funded by the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology contributed to the breakthrough technologies of magnetic storage drives, lithium-ion batteries, and the liquid crystal display, which came together in the development of MP3 devices. The device itself is innovative, but it built upon a broad platform of component technologies, each derived from fundamental studies in physical science, mathematics, and engineering.

Related Topics: dod, doe, nih, nist, nsf, research


Research Added to Federal R&D Project Summaries

Another opportunity for researchers and the public to be better informed about government research is afforded by OSTI's recent and major update to Federal R&D Project Summaries ( Three important project summary databases have been added to the portal, which currently provides access to more than 800,000 research projects complete with full-text single-query searching of databases residing at 9 different agencies and organizations. Now you can find research project summaries from the Department of Defense, NASA, and the Transportation Research Board at Federal R&D Project Summaries, which helps users find research projects across the federal government.

Updates to the site include: