Public Invention Projects

We have defined 48 public invention projects

Active Projects

Rough Design of a Portable Incubator

Project #51: Moonrat: A portable Incubator

A small, intelligent, portable, battery powered incubator will enable a wide variety of biological experiments and assays to be performed “in the field” far from a standard laboratory.



“Watching so many teams start working on ventilator designs, Robert Read and the Public Invention team have decided that the best way they can contribute is to make an in-line monitoring device. This would be a tube that connected near the patient and would track the flow and pressure of gases as they entered and left the patient. Much of the rest of the document discusses flow and pressure sensing, but it worth noting that such a simple device like this is extraordinarily valuable and most definitely life-saving.” — Erich Schulz, MD

Evaluation of Open Source Ventilator Projects

Ventilator Verification Project

This is a project to match teams building emergency COVID-19 ventilators to teams able to verify the clinical suitability of those ventilators. The goal is to give clinicians the confidence to deploy a last-resort device by proving that is has been functionally tested, burned-in for 48 hours, and is clinically suitable.


Project #48: GlussCon

By building a “puppet”, a hand-held controller of a larger robot, we hope to allow a workperson to effectively control a rescue robot that could clear or search rubble.

microscope view of contamination

Project #41: Rapid E. coli presence detector

In volunteering for Engineers Without Borders, we learned of the critical need to evaluate water for fecal contamination in remote field locations without laboratory-style equipment. Shortening the time to quantitatively measure fecal contamination would help in providing clean water to the developing world, and might even save lives in disaster relief situations.


Project #16: Tetrobot

The Tetrobot project was the first project seriously undertaken by Public Invention, and remains its most important. After a great deal of trial and error and some years of work, we produced a system for building tetrahedral robots on a small cheap scale.

Magic Math Table

Project #47: Math Tablet

Imagine every student and researcher in the world having a genius mathematician as a tutor to looking over their shoulders as they scribble their math homework, or serious research, in their own handwriting and sketches on a tablet.

number spectra

Project #30: Number Spectra: Build a map of common irrational combinations

Often computer programmers and engineers write software which produces decimal expansions of numbers which in fact have a closed-form expression which is unknown or not observed to the programmer.


Project #45: Segmented Helices generated by chains of Repeated Units

That a number of physical objects, such as the Platonic solids, can generate helices, has been published in scattered papers. However, the math to determine the radius and rate of rotation from the underlying object has never been studied.

Other Projects

Public Invention accepts and publishes a wide variety of humanitarian invention ideas. Some of these are just a simple idea; some have a one-page, and some are fully developed projects with sophisticated prototypes. All of them need volunteers with a wide variety of skill sets! You may find it easier to visit our spreadsheet.