News | Dec 23, 2019

602 reasons innovative businesses should be excited about 2020

News Article Image of 602 reasons innovative businesses should be excited about 2020

A collage of illustrations from U.S. patents assigned to the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Troy Carter/TechLink

I ran a few database searches to see how many U.S. patents had been issued and assigned to the Department of Defense in 2019 (via the Army, Navy, Air Force, and a few others including the National Security Agency).

Summing the results equaled 602, though with a week left in the year that number will grow, but that’s already 602 new opportunities for business development managers and tech scouts, on top of the 5,000 or so patents issued in previous years.

For example, last Tuesday a team of Air Force scientists received two patents for manufacturing improved atomic clocks, and commercial applications include finance, communications, cybersecurity, and encryption.

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New Year’s Eve and 2020 is just around the corner. And our New Year’s Resolution is to educate new companies and tech scouts about the hundreds of business opportunities these patents represent.

Too many people still don’t know that the Department of Defense employees tens of thousands of researchers, scientists, and engineers, and that there’s a free business service called TechLink for companies looking to leverage all that R&D into the development of new products and services–though we’ve come a long way in changing that and have improved resources and access in the works.

From large corporations to small businesses and new entrepreneurs, the companies TechLink helps collaborate with federal labs are able to bring the government’s research discoveries to market through professional engagement — from reviewing the tech, the market, and the intellectual property landscape, to licensing and cooperative research agreements.

TechLink has worked for 20 years on spinning out the DoD’s invention portfolio, it’s a big catalog of new product ideas, but earlier this year the Department of Veterans Affairs, a heavyweight in medical research, had us start helping companies find and license their tech, too.

And throughout the year we’ve highlighted a sample of new technologies from 2019, and below we’ve listed the top 10 stories and tech summaries, ranked by you, our readers, through thousands of clicks.

1. US Army researchers are turning it ‘up to 11’ to make hypervelocity firearms

Behind the walls of the Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, a team of engineers is testing and tweaking a new breech and barrel design that doubles the muzzle velocity of standard-issue rifles. Read more…

2. The Navy has designed a robot that looks and swims like a marlin

“Previous work has demonstrated the potential of biomimetic propulsion systems as a more efficient alternative to rotating machinery in motivating UUV-sized submerged vehicles.” Read more…

3. VA reveals new pulse oximeter medical device

A respiratory therapist at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Pittsburgh Healthcare System has invented an improved device for measuring the oxygenation of a patient’s blood. Read more…

4. Air Force invents BATDOK, a smartphone app for field medicine

Refined with many iterations of medic use feedback, BATDOK leverages operator-centric, intuitive, easy-to-use mobile interfaces to facilitate maximum awareness and documentation of in-field patient care. Read more…

5. US Army invents 40mm grenade that nets bad drones

“As the round nears the target, a signal from a control board activates a servo. The servo pulls on a central lock plunger to release a ball mechanism.” Read more…

6. US Air Force issued a patent on low alloy, high impact toughness steel

Of particular benefit is the through hardenability and toughness, which has demonstrated strength and toughness at -40°C even with sections up to 4-inches in thickness. Read more…

7. US Navy partners with UK research team on biosynthetic fuels

The chemistry branch at the naval laboratory in China Lake has been researching renewable jet fuels and high-density turbine fuels since 2007. Its effort has created a broad portfolio of patents, which can be licensed by businesses. Read more…

8. Here’s the Army’s now-patented EMP rifle attachment for taking out small drones

This invention would enable a single soldier in a ground unit to destroy enemy electronics, such as small drones or improvised explosive devices, by attaching a special blank-firing adapter to their rifle’s muzzle, then firing a shot. Read more…

9. Prolific VA inventor has a new mouse for prosthetic users

“Private companies have already licensed several of Cooper’s devices, but one of his latest, a computer mouse for people who use a hook-type prosthetic hand, remains available.” Read more…

10. New Air Force-developed steel with 3D printing capability cuts costs

“The actual task was to see if we could make it easier for the producers to make and reduce the cost by about 10%,” the inventor said. “When they came back and said that it was going to be a 50% reduction in cost I think all of us were very, very excited and very surprised.” Read more…