AFRL celebrates patents, seeks to further bolster numbers

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- It would be safe to assume that a pioneering research and development organization such as the Air Force Research Laboratory possesses its fair share of patented intellectual property.  The fact is that 218 patents have been filed by AFRL since 2011, with 49 filed in fiscal year 2015 alone. Some prominent aerospace and warfighting technologies developed by AFRL over the years include landing gear, rocket boosters, and early warning radar.  Technologies that we use every day have their beginnings at AFRL as well, including GPS and liquid crystal displays (LCD).

To recognize this heritage of innovation, AFRL has created a patent wall that is now on display at AFRL headquarters.  30 feet in length and adorned with early sketches of aviation and blueprint drawings from past AFRL-developed technologies, the wall acknowledges the AFRL scientists and engineers (S&Es) behind their patented technologies.

The display was conceived and championed by AFRL Executive Director Doug Ebersole who felt the ingenuity and accomplishments of AFRL’s researchers should be shared.

“The patent wall is really a celebration of the all-star S&Es of AFRL,” comments Ebersole. “It recognizes the innovative spirit of the laboratory, and it says thank you to the amazing people behind AFRL’s valued intellectual property.”

Some notable patents from the 2015 class that are on display include the Ruck Dock, a load carriage connector and system for rapid mounting and demounting of a user-carried load, and the Low Energy Laser-induced Ignition of Air-Fuel Mixture, a novel approach for igniting an air-fuel mixture in turbine and other engines using a low energy ultraviolet pulse.

Only patents from the most recent fiscal year are on display. Patents from fiscal year 2016 will soon replace the 2015 patents that are currently up.

Despite a healthy quantity of filed patents, AFRL senior leadership has challenged AFRL’s S&Es to increase this number each year moving forward.

“AFRL’s innovation stretches beyond what is represented on the patent wall,” states Ebersole.  “Our goal is to encourage our S&Es to patent their intellectual property, so that we see a yearly increase in the number of AFRL patents filed. We are making many efforts at AFRL to further nurture a culture that values its innovative intellectual property, and I believe that the laboratory can and will bolster its numbers.”