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Lisa Seacat DeLuca, Master Inventor, IBM

Lisa Seacat DeLuca, Master Inventor, Mobile Software, IBM

By Lisa Seacat DeLuca

For me, the intersection of Big Data and geolocation happened on a hot summer day in Chicago, 2006.

I was asked to fly to the Windy City for training on a new IBM product that I would soon be working with. My coworker, Larissa Wojciechowski, was new to our team but very familiar with Chicago, having grown up there and having family that still lived nearby. We decided to share a rental car to get from the airport to the hotel. On our last day of training, class ended early, so Larissa called up her parents to ask if they’d be up for catching dinner before our flight. We agreed to meet at a seafood restaurant that Larissa had never heard of.

This was before smart phones were as smart as they are today, so we were left to a good old GPS device to get us to the restaurant. As we were driving, Larissa was on the phone with her parents who kept giving us directions to where they were, saying things like, “We just passed the gas station on the corner.”

I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could ask our GPS to give us direction to her parents? If we could, we’d be able to determine their location through their mobile device location such as GPS or if their phones weren’t equipped with GPS we could use cell tower triangulation. Since the restaurant wasn’t recognized as a Point of Interest (POI) within our GPS system, why not just provide directions to where her parents were.

Even better, why not provide directions to where they were expected to be driving. That way we could head them off. Rather than follow behind them, our GPS could guess where they’re likely to be moving towards based on hundreds of data points and predictive confidence techniques such as those Watson uses and provide directions to her parents as a moving target.

Our idea was born: to come up with a way to provide turn-by-turn directions to a moving waypoint.

We researched and drafted schematics and finally submitted a patent through the IBM review process in 2006. Later that year IBM submitted it to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in January of 2011 Patent no. 7,865,300 was granted.

When it comes to patenting, ideas can pop-up from so many life experiences.  Being an inventor means recognizing a problem and dreaming up the solution.

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July 10, 2016
1:41 am

good post

Posted by: toyota
April 26, 2016
5:31 am

Great story Lisa. The simplicity of the story telling made for a great read. The solution to a common problem that I could relate to made me have a, “why didn’t I think of that?” moment. Congratulations on your achievement!!!

Posted by: Mobil Honda Jogja
April 19, 2016
11:57 pm

When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me
when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added
I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment.
Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service?
Many thanks!

Posted by: Tamara
July 24, 2015
3:49 pm

Yes! Finally someone writes about forex income engine

Posted by: the extreme day trading strategy scam
June 18, 2015
6:07 pm

excellent publish, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector don’t understand this.

You must continue your writing. I am confident, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

Posted by: best home security system
March 8, 2015
8:21 am

That’s nice. Congrats, and all the best.

Posted by: Riga
February 13, 2015
3:20 pm

Good ideas can pop-up from so many life experiences. Good Job

Posted by: Mobil Honda Jogja
January 20, 2015
3:22 pm

Ok, but have you developed any new products with this patent idea? Wasnt there Tomtom at 2006?

Posted by: oskars
July 14, 2014
9:13 pm

A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I
do believe that you ought to publish more on this subject matter, it might not be a taboo subject but generally
folks don’t speak about these issues. To the next! Cheers!!

Posted by: Lawyer Blogs In Peoria Il
May 1, 2014
11:12 pm

hello!,I like your writing so a lot! share we be in contact more about your article on AOL?
I need an expert on this area to solve my problem. Maybe that’s
you! Having a look forward to see you.

Posted by: funny cat videos
April 3, 2014
1:35 am

Thanks Lisa for sharing! A vivid story telling patent way.

Posted by: Kelly
March 31, 2014
1:15 pm

Inspiring Lisa, well done
Hope the food was good ;-)

Posted by: Jan
March 31, 2014
8:36 am

thanks for sharing … great story

Posted by: Horst
March 30, 2014
12:32 pm

And That’s the way the cookie
crumbles :D, well done dear.

Posted by: Gabriel
March 28, 2014
4:39 am

Interesting story. Thanks Lisa !

Posted by: Axel Vergely
March 27, 2014
10:35 pm

Smart ideas, smart planet! Well done, Lisa!

Posted by: Cen Rong
March 27, 2014
6:30 am

A great story told in an inspiring way. While the story is written in simple terms making is easy for any to follow, I see your humility, Congrats way to go.

Posted by: Padmanaban
March 27, 2014
4:50 am

I’ve loved this story, thanks for sharing !

Posted by: Javier Trivino
March 27, 2014
1:26 am

This is a such a great story! Indeed life teaches us in so many simple ways but we don’t look or think hard enough. Thanks for sharing this, very motivating!

Posted by: Anirban Banerjee
March 26, 2014
11:18 am

I love the way you have put the story through. One has to be first aware and innovations like this could be great of traffic management systems in places like Bangalore!
Smart I must say. Thank you.

Posted by: Abha
March 26, 2014
10:20 am

Great story! I love the thought of how you took your problem and actually translated it into a useful solution. I am going to share your story with my son, who is studying design.

Posted by: Shubha
March 26, 2014
9:11 am

Lisa, thank you for sharing how daily life sparked an idea for the patent. I’m wondering about a hidden part of the story: What happened between 2006 and granting of the patent in 2011? Why did the process take so long? Did you revise your ideas during that time … as new technology came along? What other applications do you see for this patent?

Posted by: David M Jones
March 26, 2014
5:19 am

Is there actual product behind it at the moment or you just have a patent?

Posted by: Marta
March 26, 2014
5:03 am

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for sharing this story and good to hear / read from you ;)

I absolutely concur with the previous comments: You put a great and technically most likely quite complex invention into a fun to read story that even I could understand – So congratulations on your achievement and thanks for the article!

PS: It’d be interesting to know, which patent you came up with after our training in San Francisco – wasn’t it in 2006, too?

Posted by: Mathias Goepel
March 26, 2014
3:00 am

Many Congrats for your effort , Excellent!

Posted by: Sanjay Gilki
March 25, 2014
11:14 pm

So true. The ideas come to us in any place and at any time. Key is to convert them into feasible / probable solution and if you are the first one to have thought of it, patent it like Lisa did. Technology has embaced our lives so much that almost any idea that we have in our day-to-day life may prove to be of interest in one of the technologies of interest to IBM.

Posted by: Bharat Shah
March 25, 2014
2:07 pm

Lisa – you’re awesome!

Posted by: Andrea Greggo
March 25, 2014
12:50 pm

Great story — it’s always interesting to learn how things like this came into being.

Posted by: Gray Foster
March 25, 2014
9:41 am

Simply awesome! Article shows how we ignore so many things in our daily experiences thinking it cannot be done at all, there is no point trying either to straighten things, Time to Think, Time to Dream, Time to brain storm around the dream :)

Posted by: Ganesh Gopalakrishnan
March 25, 2014
8:14 am

Well done …keep dreaming…………….

Posted by: Chandradev
March 25, 2014
7:49 am

Hi, I did not understand if the idea actually became a product. I think the patent itself is only a way to prevent someone else to build a product. I think the product must be the objective. But the idea is good. Nowadays almost all people in Brazil use‎.

Posted by: Douglas Hemerly
March 25, 2014
6:46 am

Congrats, for not only getting the patent but most importantly for making it a smarter planet by taking an everyday problem that everyone faces and getting a smart solution thus making it s simpler & Smarter world. Really Great

Posted by: Lynda Keitany
March 25, 2014
3:21 am

Great news…happy to see like you guys…

Posted by: Velmurugan
March 24, 2014
6:59 pm

Revisionist History!

“Rather than follow behind them, our GPS could guess where they’re likely to be moving towards based on hundreds of data points and predictive confidence techniques such as those Watson uses and provide directions to her parents as a moving target.”

You had knowledge of the details of the Watson program back in 2006?! It was in its infancy, would have been highly secretive and nowhere near as advanced as it had to be to win Jeopardy publicly in 2011. You should patent the clairvoyance that you had back in 2006!

Posted by: James Delaware
March 24, 2014
3:08 pm

The idea is great, but I though a patent must be a solution to a fresh new idea. Did you guys figure out the solution based on today’s technology?

Posted by: George
March 24, 2014
2:15 pm

Such an idea could have traffic management potential as well. You could have a network of broadcasting where people are going as opposed to dodging them by where they currently are. If you consider how waze locks on to existing traffic patterns to provide you shortcuts it could be significantly better to look at where the traffic will be to optimize routes around it.

Posted by: Willis Kennedy
March 24, 2014
1:25 pm

While I commend the invovative thinking towards solving the technical problem, there are unintended consequences with the solution. Consider this idea could be used by a stalker, or abusive spouse with a protection order outstanding. Too often I have seen technical solutions that open the door to the unintended effects. Take the extra step to consider how can this idea be abused and expand the solution to prevent that abuse.

Posted by: Art Baron
March 24, 2014
1:18 pm

Your story is inspiring and promotes observational simplicity.

Posted by: Eheteshamuddin
March 24, 2014
1:14 pm

Thanks for this post Lisa. It offers some great points for how an invention can spawn from everyday work and play. Congratulations on the issue too.

Posted by: Louis Ruggiero
March 24, 2014
11:07 am

Congrats Lisa. A true example of how simple things in life lead to great innovations. Very inspiring.

Posted by: Arindam Chatterjee
March 24, 2014
10:33 am

Great story Lisa. The simplicity of the story telling made for a great read. The solution to a common problem that I could relate to made me have a, “why didn’t I think of that?” moment. Congratulations on your achievement!!!

Posted by: Nolito Teruel
March 24, 2014
9:21 am


Posted by: Mohammed Noor
March 24, 2014
9:20 am

Congratulations to you and I very much enjoyed reading your story.

Posted by: Stacey Rosenberg
March 24, 2014
9:08 am

Congratulations on your patent.
And thank you for sharing this inspiring story..!

Posted by: Suman Marlapudi
March 24, 2014
6:37 am

Inspiring story! Congrats :)

Posted by: Lana
March 24, 2014
6:06 am

Congrats and all the best….

Posted by: Venkat
March 24, 2014
5:13 am

Congratulations! Great story. Inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Anipriya P
March 24, 2014
5:06 am

Interesting story. Congratulations on being granted the patent and thanks for sharing the story.

Posted by: Satya Mishra
March 24, 2014
4:35 am

Lisa, Congrats !!. It is really good to read and adopt simple way to think towards innovation.

Posted by: Prakash N Rudraswamimath
March 24, 2014
3:46 am

This is a perfect example of thinking out of the box in analyzing and finding the solution for a problem or a situation and it matters how well we understand and finding the solution.

Posted by: Mahesh D C
March 24, 2014
2:22 am

A perfect example of “Necessity is the mother of invention”.Well done,Lisa

Posted by: Sophia
March 24, 2014
1:44 am

Quite interesting. Presentation is quite simple. Felt like reading a story.

Posted by: Krishnakumar Sundaramurthy
March 24, 2014
12:42 am

Well done, it’s really in informative. Excellent.

Posted by: Adil Khan
March 24, 2014
12:35 am

Good one towards integration of life and technology.

Posted by: Sivas
March 24, 2014
12:27 am

Well done Lisa. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Ashwin
March 23, 2014
7:36 pm

I agree with George. You had a nice idea – I’d love to see an efficient and user-friendly implementation. But what does the patent serve other than big companies’ ability to sue each other and make all of us pay the price ? How about instead of using defective US law to ruin the world, you just try to improve it ? Ask yourself – does my patent track record with IBM serve as more than a legal means to destroy competitors ?

Posted by: Lidor
March 22, 2014
9:05 am

Very cool!!! It makes complete sense and has many practical applications.

Posted by: John Davis
March 21, 2014
7:58 pm

p.s. It would have been awesome if you could have gotten Larissa’s parents’ name on the patent! ;-) In those five long years, don’t tell me the thought didn’t enter your mind at least once or twice!!!

Posted by: David Herlich
March 21, 2014
7:47 pm

To have a worthwhile idea that springs from the ordinary is wonderful and valuable, but not all that rare. Tracking a moving waypoint with some insight as to its destination? I’m sure cops chasing a bad guy who got a head start have pondered the benefits of this for a hundred years, along with any mom whose kid ran away from home, families who lost their pets, and anyone connected with the missing Malaysian Airlines flight. What is impressive is in this case the person with the idea had the time, resources, wherewithal, determination, and apparently a lot of patience to see it through into something more than just another good idea. Kudos on the idea, but my true respect and admiration for doing something about it.

Posted by: David Herlich
March 21, 2014
6:14 pm

Good! Goodluck

Posted by: Abhay
March 21, 2014
3:01 pm

Very cool! Love it when we can solve everyday problems

Posted by: Michele Poalillo
March 21, 2014
3:00 pm

Awesome Lisa. Thanks for sharing. Intersection points between technology and humans indeed hold potential for ground breaking innovations down the line. Best wishes

Posted by: Somasekar Srinivasan
March 21, 2014
2:34 pm

Wouldn’t be able to do my job in national role for IBM without the smarter smart phone directions.
Thank you.

Posted by: Brendan Fowkes
March 21, 2014
2:26 pm

Great story. Look me up if you ever get to London, and i’ll buy you a fish dinner, London style. T

Posted by: Tony Boobier
March 21, 2014
1:57 pm

Well done Lisa. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Joe Konsul
March 21, 2014
1:14 pm

Fantastic Story and Inspirational for All ! Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Karl Sandreuter
March 21, 2014
10:53 am

Very Interesting. Where I am, various areas are limited to only filing a certain number of patents in a year. For example, an organization of 45 people might be limited to 15 patents – it depends on the year. It seems that other areas can file as many patents as they can file. Any idea why? Also, we cannot file patents about “just anything.” Part of the scrutiny in deciding what can be filed is whether the IP is relevant to those companies that IBM would be negotiating (cross-licensing) with.

I’m glad that people like Lisa have not been artificially constrained in this way, and that she had been allowed to let her creative ability soar. Congratulations to her!

Posted by: Phil Emma
March 21, 2014
10:16 am

I love the way a simple idea turned into an amazing invention! The “what if” turned into a reality – an amazing reality.

I love being an IBM’r!

Posted by: Nestor A. Morales Jr.
March 21, 2014
9:57 am

Lisa, great blog . You are my inspiration for innovations and positive thoughts, please keep sharing and inspiring !!

Posted by: Dmitri
March 21, 2014
8:17 am

Very good thought..Excellent invention. This can be integrated with the destination traffic analytics systems which would provide the traffic conditions at the surroundings of the updates of traffics on the destination’s place…rather than providing the route direction alone.

Posted by: Jitendranath Palem
March 21, 2014
2:09 am

always feel great to get your share Lisa. influenced by the inventor’s habbits.

Posted by: Wayne Zhang
March 20, 2014
11:05 pm

Wow.. Nicely Drafted, how many of us actually come across ideas? Turning ideas into reality is BEING ESSENTIAL

Posted by: Rahul Vij
March 20, 2014
4:40 pm

This is one of the few “soft patents” that I have seen that seems pretty original. Makes sense. I still think that too many patents are granted for frivolous things like this that are extensions of existing technology. Good luck in the future!

Posted by: George Paul Samuels
March 20, 2014
3:58 pm

HOW AWESOME. The fact you had the skills and support to get this done is amazing. Some of you greatest talents are expressed in such short words in the blog, would love to hear more on this!!:

“We researched and drafted schematics and finally submitted a patent through the IBM review process in 2006″

Posted by: Eric
March 20, 2014
3:18 pm

Why did I like this story? Observational simplicity. This story tells me the players took a simple notion and applied a dash of reasoning to come up with a straight forward solution. In today’s world, it appears that many must over-think their ideas which adds complexity to simple desired outcomes, in most cases. Thinking and socializing your thoughts are very important when it comes to developing ideas but, conceiving, designing and launching this solution took simplicity over complexity and scored big time!

Posted by: Michael Hamilton
March 20, 2014
11:01 am

Well done and keep dreaming !

Posted by: Elizabeth Baker
March 19, 2014
9:54 am

Congrats Lisa. Hope your ability to convert life experiences into patents and products/services leads others to follow your example instead of only thinking of them as mere ways to improve our souls/characters to make ourselves in to better human beings.

Posted by: Bala R Subramanian
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