A COVID Spinoff And Soft Power Opportunity That NASA Ignores

NASA Notice of availability of inventions for licensing: Human-Powered Ventilator

"The following application filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office under the Patent Cooperation Treaty is available for licensing: NASA Case No.: MSC-26813-1-PCT, Human-Powered Ventilator. The patent rights in this invention has been assigned to the United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any prospective license will comply with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR part 404."

Inside NASA's Pandemic Response Campaigns

"Engineers at Johnson are offering a simpler ventilator solution, primarily for use in developing countries. As the pandemic unfolded, engineers who had developed a ventilator for use on the Orion spacecraft started updating it. The device is similar to human-powered ventilator bags used in ambulances, but those are squeezed by hand, which becomes tiring quickly. Johnson's ventilator is powered by larger muscle groups in the arms or even legs. It can be used to keep a patient alive for hours, perhaps while waiting for a bed to open up, said Kris Romig, technology transfer officer at Johnson."

Keith's note: Why isn't NASA talking about this? This is rather cool. It is 3-D printed, was designed for space but adapted for use on Earth. And it can be used in a wide array of locations including those with little or no resources - by the people who live there. Not only does it demonstrate the value of space technology's earthly applications it is also a source of potential soft power for NASA.

Imagine a remote village where this thing shows up with a NASA logo on the box - and their first interaction with America is via its space program. But wait: not so fast. NASA requires that you apply for a license to use this. Life saving inventions like this - developed at American taxpayer's expense - should be provided to anyone, anywhere with no constraints - especially as a global pandemic continues to rage in the places where people are often least capable of responding.

Oddly this release came out the other day - why is it that NASA requires a licensing process for the human powered respirator - which costs money and time to navigate - when the device could be saving lives as soon as someone uses a 3D printer to make it? Why doesn't NASA waive the patent rights as they have with all these other things and post the 3D printer file on GitHub or wherever they post the free stuff they share? I'd ask NASA PAO but they no longer answer questions. According to the Spinoff 2021 document (pages 67-68) there is some sort of effort to make it more widely available - but why go through this complicated process when you can simply post the file now?

NASA Software Benefits Earth, Available for Business, Public Use

Many of NASA's computational innovations were developed to help explore space, but the public can download them for applications that benefit us right here on Earth. The agency's latest software catalog has hundreds of popular programs, as well as more than 180 new ones, all available for free download. "From operations here on Earth to missions to the Moon and Mars, software is integral to all that NASA does," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. "The good news is this technology is available to the public for free. The software suited for satellites, astronauts, engineers, and scientists as it is applied and adapted across industries and businesses is a testament to the extensive value NASA brings to the United States - and the world."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 30, 2021 8:43 PM.

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