We may have all just won the lottery (and we didn’t even know we were playing). NASA just released 56 patented technologies into the public domain, a move that’s designed to make many of the agency’s brightest ideas freely available to private industry.
It means that a number of space-related technologies developed at government expense can now be freely used by whoever can make the best use of them. Obviously, much of the new tech skews toward spaceflight and space exploration—but perhaps just as intriguing are the terrestrial purposes that may come from this.
“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,” says Daniel Lockney of NASA’s Technology Transfer Program.
NASA also hopes that the release will foster more and better collaborations with private industry, which is an approach that’s already borne spectacular fruit, especially recently, in partnerships with SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace.
The database of newly released patents includes quite a few intriguing technologies. Among the highlights:
So there’s a lot of really neat stuff to be found among the new technologies—it’s just a matter having the money and the wherewithal to develop it. But we think some really clever folks will have no trouble at all putting some of this stuff to use.
Apparently, NASA thinks so too. You can check out the database of newly released patents here.