National Inventors Month

August is our month: National Inventors Month, celebrating invention and creativity.

National Inventors Month began was started in 1998 by the United Inventors Association of the USA (UIA-USA), the Academy of Applied Science, and Inventors' Digest magazine.

Jerome Lemelson

- The Visionary

Jerry Lemelson is one of the US's most prolific inventors and patent holders - he holds more than 600 patents, and his inventions make up much of our everyday lives.

Automated manufacturing systems and bar code readers, automatic teller machines and cordless phones, cassette players and camcorders, fax machines and personal computers, even crying baby dolls, derived from Lemelson's innovations.

His legacy, The Lemelson Foundation, is the NCIIA's primary funder. His life and work is a must-read - you can find it here.

Dorothy and Jerry Lemelson

Intelliject and Evan and Eric Edwards

- Saving Lives

Sobering statistic: On average five people in the US die from anaphylactic shock each day. The cause: allergic reactions to peanuts, bee stings, you name it. If you have have a serious allergy, it's probable you need to carry an epinephrine injector (or two). You'll also know that these items are so bulky you'll be tempted to leave them at home, like more than half the people who are suposed to carry one.

In 2000 the EpiCard E-Team, now Intelliject, Inc., invented an automatic epinephrine injecting system that is credit-card sized and easy to use.  The EpiCard can be carried almost anywhere - in the user's purse, wallet, or pocket - and is efficient and safe.

The team was founded by brothers Eric and Evan Edwards, who both have severe allergies and needed to carry an epinephrine injector - until they invented the EpiCard.



Evan Edwards and EpiCard


Keen Healthcare and Vail Horton

- Enhancing Mobility

Anyone that has had an injury requiring crutches knows they are uncomfortable to use over a long period of time.

In 2001, NCIIA funded a University of Portland E-Team to develop the Keen Krutch, a more comfortable, more versatile crutch that alleviated the problems associated with traditional crutches and provided increased mobility. The Keen Krutch features underarm cushioning that conforms to the curvature of the body; a contour shape to redistribute pressure; adjustable, mobile handgrips to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome; shock absorbers; and a pivoting ankle joint for increased mobility.

The idea for the Keen Krutch was originated by Vail Horton, who was born without legs and used crutches from an early age. After graduating from the University of Portland, Horton and his former roommate Jerry Carleton co-founded Keen Mobility, an assistive technology company built around the crutch. Renamed Keen Healthcare, the company manufactures an array of mobility and bed safety products.


Keen Krutch


- Lighting the way in Ghana

For the past three years, Toby Cumberbatch, a professor at Cooper Union, and an E-Team team have been working with rural communities in northern Ghana and in Rwanda on a solar lantern project. They have made steady progress, developing and testing several generations of prototypes. The goal: create an affordable, solar-powered lantern that is made from local materials and sold by local entrepreneurs.

Read more about the project,the invention, and its impact on the lives of local villagers, as reported in the Rwandan New Times.

The Cooper Union solar lantern