August's patents pick 5 article

The Promise of Innovation

“Everything you can imagine,” Picasso once said, “is real.” Fueled by the desire to push the envelope of innovation, the inventors in our latest edition of Patents Pick-5 have attempted to craft reality by way of their imagination. These patents detail renewable energy technologies that try to lessen the burden on the planet in unexpected ways.

Note: This article is part of an ongoing series detailing some of the Inventors Eye staff’s favorite patents. For each article, the writer selects their five favorite patents under a given theme. This list is from Office of Innovation Development Extern André Palerm-Colón.

U.S. Patent No. 7,270,295
Solar Thermal Aircraft

The summer of 1990 is a milestone in American aviation. It marked the first time a solar-powered plane flew across America, a trip that appropriately ended on a landing strip not far from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the site of the Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1903. We live in exciting times for renewable energy transportation, and innovation promises new frontiers in the coming years. That’s what U.S. patent no. 7,270,295 represents: ideas taking flight.

U.S. Patent No. 8,994,224
Solar Roof Shingles and Underlayment with Wireless Power Transfer

“Renewable energy with curb appeal”—that’s what some are calling the millions of solar shingles being installed across the nation at a rapid pace. Solar shingles are becoming increasingly attractive due to their seamless appearance and enticing tax breaks. And because they generate electricity whenever the sun is shining, solar shingles can potentially produce more energy than needed, allowing you to sell unused watts back to the local utility for a credit. The solar roof shingles on U.S. patent no. 8,994,224 are for the tech-savvy; they have individual wireless resonators that transfer power from the shingles to the underlayment.

U.S. Patent No. 8,330,296
Hybrid Renewable Energy Turbine Using Wind and Solar Power

In Cervantes’ classic Don Quixote, the delusional knight-errant title character tangles with windmills that he imagines to be giants. A battle against U.S. patent no. 8,330,296 would have been the loftiest of Don Quixote’s quests, even with the help of his loyal squire, Sancho Panza. This green energy tower comprises both a wind turbine and a solar photovoltaic material covering the surface area of the turbine’s body.

U.S. Patent No. 3,876,925
Wind Turbine Driven Generator to Recharge Batteries in Electric Vehicles

Marty McFly would be jealous of the automobile featured in the drawings for U.S. Patent 3,876,925. This 1970s patent is for a wind turbine-driven generator that recharges automobile batteries. The invention never really took off.

U.S. Patent No. 8,283,794
Floor Suitable for Generating, Converting and/or Storing Energy

Now you can really light up the dance floor! The piezoelectric sensors detailed in U.S. patent no. 8,283,794 capture the kinetic energy produced by people dancing to light up the floor’s LED and create a disco atmosphere. The more people dance, the more the floor lights up! And what about energy-generating roads, or sidewalks? Seems like a bright idea!

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The USPTO gives you useful information and non-legal advice in the areas of patents and trademarks. The patent and trademark statutes and regulations should be consulted before attempting to apply for a patent or register a trademark. These laws and the application process can be complicated. If you have intellectual property that could be patented or registered as a trademark, the use of an attorney or agent who is qualified to represent you in the USPTO is advised.