Consider becoming a volunteer with Public Invention

Immediate Volunteer Needs

We are maintaining a spreadsheet of our needs; some of our needs are explained in greater detail here, but the spreadsheet is most up-to-date. We may wish to review the spreadsheet of the descriptions below.

Updated January 2, 2021.

Public Inventor for Moonrat & Rapid E. coli Detector Projects

Public Invention is trying to help solve the global clean water problem. Part of this problem revolves around difficulty testing for safe drinking water sources. We are trying to make those tests faster and easier to perform in the field and rely on passionate Public Inventors to make this goal a reality. Public Invention is looking for volunteers to support two related projects: 1) Project #41: Rapid E. coli Detector and 2) Project #51: Moonrat: A Portable Incubator. Ideal candidates will need to be comfortable developing a biological understanding of global water quality issues and an interest in scientific communication. Candidates should also be passionate about humanitarian service and be able to dedicate 4 hours per week to supporting the efforts of Public Invention.


  • Knowledge of or interest in biological concepts as they apply to human health, particularly around water quality analysis and microbiology (required)
  • Experience or interest in drafting strategic communications targeting a diverse audience through social media posts, promotional materials, websites, and email correspondence (required)
  • Self-motivated to drive tasks forward and seek guidance when necessary (required)
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills (required)
  • Current college student or recent graduate (preferred)


  • Lead efforts to create instructional documents, website content, social media posts, emails and other forms of engaging media
  • Support market analyses of relevant water quality researchers and institutions
  • Perform scientific literature review of existing research around water quality analysis
  • Work as part of a team and attend weekly team project meetings

Time Investment: 4-6 hours per week (negotiable)

If interested, please submit your resume and a statement of interest to read.robert@pubinv.org.

C/Arduino programming volunteer needed for pandemic ventilator project

Public Invention has designed and shipped the VentMon, an open-source pandemic ventilator performance analysis tool. At present it is used as a tester, but may soon be used as a monitor in ICUs for emergency ventilators. The project uses C code in the Arduino platform to control sensors and report data. C code running on more powerful computers logs data in the Public Invention Respiration Data Standard.

We need a volunteer C programmer to improve our Arduino code, compute and clinical parameters on the VentMon display, and improve our logging facility. This project will be the beginning of a long-lasting ecosystem of free-libre open source medical technology.

JavaScript programming volunteer needed for pandemic ventilator project

Public Invention has developed an open source real-time clinical display tool for pandemic emergency ventilators that can display graphical respiration data and compute clinically important parameters. This is a simple web page that renders with JavaScript. We need a JavaScript programming volunteer to continue to expand the utility of this page. This requires an understanding of basic physics and math, as well as an ability to choose and utilize graphic JavaScript libraries. Because the page operates on  data in the Public Invention Respiration Data Standard format, this program will be potentially useful to researchers and well as clinicians working with ANY ventilator, and will be the beginning of a long-lasting ecosystem of free-libre open source medical technology.

General Volunteering

Public Invention invents things that helps humanity; we don't just talk about it. Fundamentally, we need people who want to invent things in the public interest without the need to be paid for it.

But we are attempting to create a movement to democratize invention. The future of invention is not the lone genius, but teams of people working in the light---in public---and asking others for help.

So we need Invention Coaches: people who can drive a project forward. We need Public Inventors who are nerds: people who can do the homework and intellectual work to make an ideal real. But we also need Public Inventors who are writers, photographers, testers, fundraisers, managers, and artists.  Whatever skill you can provide, we can probably find a way to use it!

We also need ideas. One of our principles is that ideas are cheap. Ideas are easy to come by; we've published 45 of them on this site. The hard work is going from an idea to a working invention that others can use. But we believe there is value in publishing ideas, even fairly vague ideas, as long as you are willing to give it freely to the world. If you are willing to release an idea under a Creative Commons license and agree not to patent it, we will help you organize and publish your idea at Public Invention, where perhaps, someday, a team, with or without you, will make your idea real for the benefit of all humanity.

There may come a time when the Head Coach of Public Invention can't talk to everyone; but that day is not yet come!

If you have any questions, or want to volunteer, or want to contribute an idea, contact me at volunteers@pubinv.org.

  • Describe what roles you're interested in volunteering for.
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