WASHINGTON, DC.- The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
s celebration of National Inventors Month continues Aug. 15 at 11:30 a.m. when the center hosts Ralph Baer, commonly known as the father of the home video game. Baer will re-enact the first time he played his game Odyssey with his partner Bill Harrison and then answer questions from the audience about his life and work. The event takes place in Spark!Lab within the National Museum of American History at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W.
Baer (b. 1922), a German-born inventor, began experimenting with ways for consumers to interact with standard home television sets in 1966 while working for Sanders Associates in Nashua, N.H. This work culminated in the game Odyssey, which was licensed by Magnavox in 1971 and Atari in 1976. Baers work also led to Milton Bradleys Simon game, and in 2004 he was awarded the National Medal of Technology.
Baers participation is part of the Lemelson Centers Innovative Lives series, which inspires young people to explore the interdisciplinary world of invention. By interacting with American inventors and entrepreneurs, young people learn firsthand about history, technology and science and develop an appreciation for problem-solving skillsincluding their ownso that they can see themselves as future inventors.
The Lemelson Center shares the National Inventors Month aim to celebrate inventors such as Baer by highlighting their contributions, said Arthur Molella, center director. This installment of our Innovative Lives series is a great opportunity for visitors to hear the story behind something we are all familiar withvideo games. But most people do not stop to think about how those games were invented.
Online visitors to the centers Facebook page have the opportunity to submit questions for Baer virtually, which may be incorporated into the program. Answers will be posted back to Facebook by Tuesday, Aug. 18. The centers Facebook page may be accessed via http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Washington-DC/The-Smithsonians-Lemelson-Center/96324194870?ref=ts
. Visitors to the museum will be able to play classic and contemporary video games in the centers Spark!Lab following Baers presentation.
National Inventors Month takes place annually in August to celebrate invention and creativity and to positively promote the contributions inventors make to society. The month was initiated in 1998 by the United Inventors Association of the USA, the Academy of Applied Science and Inventors Digest magazine.
The center kicked off National Inventors Month Aug. 1 and 2 with a collaborative build of a record-breaking 8-foot-tall light bulb made entirely out of LEGO bricks. This event was hosted with LEGO Systems, Inc.