43 Public Invention Projects That Need You

The Glussbot, a Tetrobot invented by Public Invention.

Public Invention is a non-profit whose mission is to “invent in the public, for the public”, and our first 43 projects can be found here.

Our goal is to create humanitarian projects that conform to our mission, and to coach these projects to create inventions that make us all wealthier, healthier and more enlightened.

We need volunteers like you to assist with these projects. The bar is not low; we take invention seriously. We only work on projects that most people, and the U.S. patent office, would consider true inventions. However, everything we do is free-libre open-source: we do not seek patents. Instead, our ethos to share everything we do as we do it, including our mistakes: we work in the light. We are trying to do for hardware invention what the Free Software Foundation has done for software.

But the bar is not too high either — some projects require advanced skills such as mathematics, theoretical computer science, and electrical and mechanical engineering, but almost all projects potential require writing, photography, graphic art, human-centered design, and, above all, project management, leadership and coaching. If you don’t feel that you are ready to be an inventor in the public interest, congratulations! Your humility qualifies you.

At the time of this writing, Public Invention is the author and small number of volunteers. In the coming weeks, I will be attempting to write more about each of the 43 free and open projects, in an attempt to recruit Public Invention coaches and volunteers. Please take a minute to scroll these projects and see if any of them resonate with you. If so, please contact me, and I will prioritize explaining and documenting that idea in greater detail — many of these are in a preliminary state right now, as you will see if you follow the link to the GitHub file for each project.

These projects are organized into the fields of:

  • Machines,
  • Sanitation,
  • Energy,
  • Computation,
  • Health,
  • Agriculture, and
  • Art.

I hope to summarize each of these categories in turn in later articles. A Google Data Studio version can be found here, though we have a Google spreadsheet that your might prefer.

43 Public Inventions Projects

The photo at the top of this article is the robot associate with Project #16, “Gluss”, a Robotic Truss. It is an example of the scale on which Public Invention works: everything is something that can be worked on with minimal capital investment. You can volunteer to work on a Public Invention project in your garage; in fact, the author doesn’t even have a garage.

Here is a link to the Google Sheet containing the data: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1c_qcNfTRaGTTsexRF7Lp0HDJyPFmueahzMh6_wR3N1Y/edit?usp=sharing, which might be easier to study than the Google Data Studio embed above.

As an example of a invention idea that already pretty far along that you can play with, consider our attempt to develop an orthography based on blocks of color: https://pubinv.github.io/color-block-font/, which looks like this:

Additionally, Public Invention wants your invention ideas, as long as you are willing to publish them under the Creative Commons by Attribution 4.0 license. If you are not seeking “intellectual property” on you idea but rather are willing to share it with the world, we will be happy to add it to this list of 43 projects; the world needs 4,300. It is my job as the head coach of Public Invention to help you formulate your ideas into a project like these that others can work on.

Contact us at <read.robert@gmail.com> and I will answer your questions, or help you determine if your own invention ideas are good fit for Public Invention.

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