Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

What’s the difference between an invention and an idea?



An invention is the implementation of an idea, it can in theory be made. An idea can't be made.

A faster than light drive is an idea. A detailed description of a working physical device that can propel a vehicle faster than light; with sufficient detail that experts can make the device from the description is a potentially patentable invention.


It can be a kind of gray area.

Leonardo da Vinci had the idea of a human powered flying machine. I pretty sure nobody would say that his sketches are an invention. On a second thought, there are so many people around, probably somebody would claim it.

http://www.flyingmachines.org/davi.html

The South Hampton University eventually made it happen centuries later in 1961.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SUMPAC

Did they invent it or "just" built it? Probably they could patent parts of the final airplane. I didn't check if they did.


An invention is an actual thing that implements the idea.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: