Active Textiles

FedInvent Taxpayer Funded Patent Applications for October 7, 2021

Hello from FedInvent,

On Thursday, October 7, 2021, the USPTO published 7,914 pre-grant patent applications. One hundred ninety (190) of those received taxpayer funding.

The FedInvent Patent Application Report is available. If you want to browse the details by Department you can start here.

Take Me To The FedInvent Report

The newsletter is a little shorter than usual. Road trip and so-so hotel WiFi slowed things down a bit. On the trip — traffic is back, confusion on mask etiquette remains, it's nice to be in a hotel. On the internet — $14.95 a day.

What Is This? — Read This Patent

Newly published patent application 20210310162, "Active Textile Tailoring." is assigned to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, is one of the premier US universities, and Ministry of Supply. Ministry of Supply is "a Boston-based high-performance business wear men's and women's fashion brand launched in 2012 and founded by former Massachusetts Institute of Technology students using some of the same temperature regulating material as NASA astronauts in their clothing."  

This is the representative drawing that appears on the first page of the PDF version of the published application. We couldn't help but wonder if this is some kind of intellectual property clickbait designed to get readers of the patent to explore the details of the invention. If so, it worked.

This invention has seven inventors. The invention involved a leading university, a spinout of the leading university, the Department of Defense, and seven inventors. It’s so much more than it’s representative figure.

The inventors have created new textiles with "active fibers" incorporated into the knit. The fibers have the ability to shrink, swell, curl or transform when activated. The activation can include heat (think hair dryer), moisture, UV light or other forms of energy. When exposed the active fiber part of the weave contract or shrink inward. The active fibers are placed where you what to "configure" a garment. The combination of active fibers and specific knit structures with controlled activation allows for standard sized/styled garments to be mass produced and then locally activated in the store or at home, ultimately becoming customized in style/shape/fit/comfort based on the wearer's body and preferences.

Full Disclosure

During the pandemic lockdowns, we read a lot of books. One of the good ones was "The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World "by Virginia I. Postrel. This book presents the history of the textile industry, from the beginnings of cloth to 3D weaving, and how the textile industry taught us how to be binary counters. One of our machine learning colleagues said it provided a new way for him to think about pattern recognition and data arrays. (Really.) The book is also a good resource for weaving together textile industry prior art.  

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Conflict Resolution Via Smartphone?


This patent application claims, 

"1. A method comprising: receiving data streams from a plurality of mobile smart devices in the possession of a plurality of users, the data streams recording information about users' daily lives; and sending intervention signals to a user in response to data acquired from two or more individuals and interpreted with respect to user internal states, moods, emotions, predetermined behaviors, and interactions with other users."

The system includes wearable sensors (e.g., heart rate sensors, blood pressure sensors, etc.). The data streams record information about users' daily lives. The application sends Intervention signals to a user in response to data acquired from two or more individuals and interpreted with respect to user internal states, moods, emotions, predetermined behaviors, and interactions with other users. (The app can tell if you are having a fight with your significant other?)

So what you have is a wearable device hooked to your smartphone and a wearable secondary sensor device (Apple Watch?) that records a bunch of data to help predict your mood. If it looks like something indicates you are not in a good place, the algorithmically driven app sends you intervention messages (take a deep breath???) and asks for feedback. Instead of interacting with another person or a therapist, you are interacting with your device.  The privacy component of the End User Licensing Agreement on this one would be epic if it made the app made it to the marketplace.

These inventors who developed this invention were funded by:

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

  1. National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  2. National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

  3. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  1. Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)

  2. Division of Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF)

  3. Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR)

  4. Division of Graduate Education (DGE)

  5. Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)

  6. Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)

We'll put this one on our list of patent applications to watch.


Patent Applications By The Numbers

On Thursday, October 7, 2021, USPTO published 7,914 pre-grant patent applications. One hundred ninety (190) of those applications benefitted from taxpayer funding. One hundred eighty-two (182) applications contain government interest statements. Thirty-two (32) applications have a federal government agency as an assignee or applicant. These patent applications have 228 funding references to federal agencies.

The 190 applications are the work of 607 inventors. The 578 American inventors come from 38 states. The 29 foreign inventors come from 15 countries.

Colleges and universities, the HERD, were applicants or assignees on 120 patent applications. There were no Bayh-Dole Scofflaws on Thursday.

Patent Application Count By Department

Before We Go

This week we added some new data. If a taxpayer-funded patent includes funding information from a federal or state entity and also includes other funding from a non-profit organization, the FedInvent Report now shows that information with the funding information on the details page.

On Thursday, three published patent applications had funding from both federal entities and non-profit organizations.  

20210308250, "ZIKA VIRUS IMMUNOGENIC COMPOSITIONS," received funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the New York Blood Center (NYBC). 

20210309986, "METHODS FOR EXON SKIPPING AND GENE KNOCKOUT USING BASE EDITORS," received funding from three institutes at NIH — National Cancer Institute (NCI), —National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), and National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), — National Science Foundation, and the American Heart Association (AHA).

20210311035, "DOC2B AS A BIOMARKER FOR TYPE 1 AND TYPE 2 DIABETES," received funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at NIH and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

This week we also captured a patent from IBM for work they are doing in Dublin. The data, 824988 awarded by European Research Project, shows up in the government interest section. No US federal funding. It was interesting, so we left it in.

That's this week's FedInvent patent applications update.

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Thanks for reading FedInvent. We'll see you on Wednesday for the FedInvent report on Tuesday's taxpayer-funded patents, and the latest news and prognostications on the federal innovation ecosphere. 


The FedInvent Team 

About FedInvent 

FedInvent tells the stories of inventors, investigators, and innovators. Wayfinder Digital's FedInvent Project follows the federal innovation ecosphere, taxpayer money, and the inventions it pays for.