NASA just unleashed 56 amazing new patents in a searchable database – who will be the first to use them?
NASA has been involved with some extremely important technologies over the past century – without the work of NASA scientists, we may have never put a man on the moon or come to rely on satellite communications technologies. According to a report from Engadget, many of NASA’s amazing technologies will soon be available for public use.
The agency announced recently that it would roll out a searchable database containing thousands of expired patents and 56 new ones developed in recent years. The move represents a shift toward private space companies, who operate without the burden of seeking government funding.
The patents won’t just be useful for private space companies, however – many NASA technologies have already been adapted for non-aerospace purposes, including artificial limbs and breast biopsy tools.
According to a NASA press release from Daniel Lockney, the agency’s Technology Transfer program executive, “By making these technologies available in the public domain, we are helping foster a new era of entrepreneurship that will again place America at the forefront of high-tech manufacturing and economic competitiveness. By releasing this collection into the public domain, we are encouraging entrepreneurs to explore new ways to commercialize NASA technologies.”
This isn’t the first time NASA has released patents for its technology to the public – the agency has released thousands of patents over the years. The recent release of patents is truly free, however – anyone with a computer and a little ingenuity can use them for a wide range of applications.
NASA decided which patents to release by assessing how likely they are to be licensed by outside companies because of resulting products that would struggle to reach a large commercial audience, like spaceships.
A press release from NASA describing the newly available patents can be found here.