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On Thursday, August 5, 2021, USPTO published 199 patent applications that received federal funding. Here are some of the taxpayer-funded inventions we found this week.
ZEROS AND ONES OUT — A, C, G, and T ARE IN — READ THIS APPLICATION
The amount of data created each day is stunning. Depending on which internet source you find people create 1.7 MB of data every second. By 2025, 200+ zettabytes of data will be in cloud storage around the globe. And your smartphone isn’t going to be big enough to store all of those cute pictures of your dog. George Church, the Harvard geneticist, has proposed a solution. Switch out those binary zeros and one and switch to the alphabet of DNA — Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), Guanine (G), and Thymine (T). Write, store and read data encoded in DNA.
20210241059 — "Methods of Storing Information Using Nucleic Acids" funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), discloses a method to encode digital data in DNA to create the highest-density large-scale data storage scheme ever invented. Capable of storing 215 petabytes (215 million gigabytes) in a single gram of DNA, the system could, in principle, store every bit of datum ever recorded by humans in a container about the size and weight of a couple of pickup trucks.
DNA is at least 1000-fold denser than the most compact solid-state hard drive and at least 300-fold more durable than the most stable magnetic tapes. DNA’s four-letter nucleotide code (ACGT) offers a coding environment that can be leveraged like the binary digital code (0 and 1) used by computers and other electronic devices to represent any letter, digit, or another character.
At present this approach to data storage is prohibitively expensive but like all innovations, the cost goes down as the usage goes up. You can read more about the work done by Dr. Church’s lab here.
PASS THE CHARDONNAY
This week there are two applications from SONOMACEUTICALS, LLC for therapeutics made from Chardonnay seed products and parts of the grape leftover from wine—the seeds and skins—to create flour-based on the wine grapes.
20210236579 — "THERAPEUTIC USE OF CHARDONNAY SEED PRODUCTS" discloses a method of increasing lipid metabolism in a mammal by administering an amount of Chardonnay seed product that is effective to increase lipid metabolism in the mammal. (People are mammals.) The second, 20210236581 — "Grape Products For Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease And Other Uses" presents a method for treating metabolic syndrome in a mammal by administering to the mammal an effective amount of Chardonnay pomace flour. You can read about the inventors’ work here. The application is assigned to both SONOMACEUTICALS, LLC and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). It’s Friday. Time for a nice buttery Chardonnay.
IMPROVE THE GRID
The Senate infrastructure bill includes significant funding and plans to improve the US electric grid and its resilience. One way to improve the resilience of the grid is to implement novel technology to prevent outages. Application 20210239675, "OPTICAL MONITORING TO DETECT CORROSION OF POWER GRID COMPONENTS," is the work of Palo Alto Research Center and Consolidated Edison Company of New York. It was funded by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The team has invented a corrosion monitoring system using optical sensors and analyzers for predicting corrosion of grid assets. The invention’s monitoring capabilities enable the utilities to take action before there is a failure.
FROM THE MILITARY HEALTH COMPLEX
20210236306 — ARM PROSTHETIC DEVICE is an invention from Deka Products. It was funded by the Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM) is for a prosthetic device that improves the user’s range of motion, improves tactile capabilities, increases comfort for the user, and decreased reliance on manual positioning of the prosthesis. This is an example of the inventions that come from the Military Health Complex.
ON PRECISION MEDICINE
20210241137 — "SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR USING MACHINE LEARNING TO GENERATE PRECISION PREDICTIONS OF READINESS". The Department of Health and Human Services funded the invention of a computer system configured to use machine learning techniques to predict when and if a subject will reach a desired level of readiness, e.g., a desired state or degree of ability needed to perform a task or achieve an objective.
The system is useful in the medical field, where information about many different patients can be used to determine when a patient is ready to begin or discontinue treatment (e.g., physical therapy, surgery, medication, digital therapeutics, etc.). For example, information about many individual’s health progression over time can be captured, along with information about the patients and their lifestyle. Treatments and other activities can also be identified.
AUTONOMOUS TESTING AND EXPLAINING
Two of the patent applications published this week are for enabling technology to support autonomous ground (UGVs), aerial vehicles (UAVs), and cars. The first
20210240891 — "AUTOMATIC TESTING TOOL FOR TESTING AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS," presents methods for virtually testing an autonomous vehicle. This is the work of inventors from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a public, historically black land-grant research university in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was funded by DOD’s Test Resources Management Center (TMRC), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The second application, 20210237759 — "Explainability of Autonomous Vehicle Decision Making," is focused on autonomous vehicle operational management and autonomous driving, and the explainability of autonomous vehicle decision-making.
Understanding how autonomous vehicles make decisions is essential to the commercial development of autonomous vehicles. This is the work of Nissan North America in Tennessee; the University of Massachusetts; and NASA. It was funded by NASA.
ROBOTS AND KIDS
20210236032 — "ROBOT-AIDED SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR DIAGNOSIS OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER," uses facial expressions and upper body movement patterns to detect autism spectrum disorder. Emotionally expressive robots participate in sensory experiences by reacting to stimuli designed to resemble typical everyday experiences, such as uncontrolled sounds and light or tactile contact with different textures. The robot-child interactions elicit social engagement from the children, which is captured by a camera. A convolutional neural network trained to evaluate multimodal behavioral data collected during those robot-child interactions identifies children that are at risk for autism spectrum disorder.
This week there are three patents funded by the intelligence community.
20210239109 "MULTICHANNEL PUMPS AND APPLICATIONS OF SAME" from Vanderbilt University, and 20210240945 "RESISTIVE AND DIGITAL PROCESSING CORES" from Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Both were funded by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The CIA has one application, 20210242550 — SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MULTI-ELECTROLYTE ACTIVATION AND REFURBISHMENT OF ELECTROCHEMICAL CELLS. This work was funded by the CIA. The CIA is the assignee on this application.
GOVERNMENT RIGHTS ACKNOWLEDGED
The single patent application without the Bayh-Dole required information is from Dr. Owen N. Witte, M.D and the University of California. Dr. Witte's website notes that he and his lab have funding from NIH.
WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE Y?
Emerging Climate Change Technology
This Thursday, three patent applications are assigned Y CPCs indicating that the inventions may be useful in mitigating the impact of climate change. You can see the details here.
There are other interesting inventions in this week’s published patent applications. Make sure to take a look around.
THE BEST OF THE REST
This Thursday’s application includes interesting vehicle technology.
20210237528 — "MOTOR-VEHICLE WITH MULTI-MODE EXTREME TRAVEL SUSPENSION-SUSPENSION HYDRAULIC DESIGN."
This is an invention for a suspension system for a motor vehicle with multi-mode extreme travel suspension suited for certain military, commercial and recreational applications. The invention is the work of inventors at Pratt & Miller, also known as Corvette Racing. Pratt & Miller engineers products for the motorsports industry, and the military. This work was funded by DARPA.
This makes you want to do some off-road racing this weekend.
20210239070 — "PARENT BORE CYLINDER BLOCK OF AN OPPOSED-PISTON ENGINE." Invented by ACHATES POWER, INC. and funded by the Defense Mobility Enterprise (DME), National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC), and the Army. A parent bore cylinder block of internal combustion, the opposed-piston engine includes cooling passages that are formed using a 3-D printed casting core. This is a simpler design that can deliver as much as a 30% improvement in fuel economy over conventional diesel engine configurations. Achates Power has a contract from the US Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) to develop transformational powertrain technology. The goal is to develop power-dense, thermally efficient, modular, scalable, and affordable solutions to enable the toughest mobility, survivability, and lethality vehicle requirements.
PATENT APPLICATIONS BY THE NUMBERS
For Thursday, August 5, 2021, FedInvent identified 199 newly published taxpayer-funded patent applications. These documents have 231 references to federal agencies and departments that provided funding to the inventors. One hundred eighty-eight (188) of these patents contained government interest statements. The federal government is the assignee or the applicant on 35 published applications. Twenty-four applications have a federal government assignee indicating government ownership of the inventions.
These 199 patent applications are the work of 702 inventors. Six hundred seventy-nine (679) of the inventors are American. The American inventors come from 39 states and the District of Columbia. The foreign inventors come from nine countries.
THE HEALTH COMPLEX
The Department of Health and Human Services funded 100 patent applications this week. The National Institutes of Health is cited 90 times. The National Institutes of Health institutes were referenced 118 times as the funding agency on the patent applications published on Thursday.
The Military Health Complex refers to healthcare innovation from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). This week there are 18 Military Health Complex patent applications.
HIGHER EDUCATION RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT ENTITIES (HERD)
One hundred thirty-eight (129) universities or university-affiliated research entities, the HERD, are assignees on patent applications published today.
That’s it for this week. We hope you have an enjoyable weekend. See you on Wednesday.
The Team at FedInvent
FedInvent is Wayfinder Digital’s project on the Federal Innovation Ecosphere and the inventions and discoveries it creates.
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