News Releases

Smithsonian Will Host Innovation Festival at National Air and Space Museum

Festival Is Part of Five-year Collaboration Spotlighting American Ingenuity and Inventors

October 27, 2014

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will host an Innovation Festival Nov. 1 and 2, a collaboration between the Smithsonian and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The festival will highlight accomplishments of American inventors and the spirit of innovation. It will feature displays, talks, performances and craft projects for children and adults.

This event is part of a five-year collaboration between the Smithsonian and USPTO to develop programs and exhibitions showcasing American innovation; USPTO will provide annual funding for public programs and exhibitions. Upcoming joint efforts will include a major new intellectual property exhibition at the National Museum of American History and an innovation family festival at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in spring 2015.

Organized through The Smithsonian Associates, the festival focuses on inventors and the processes by which ideas become products and services. It also offers a look into the patent and intellectual property systems and shows how they support invention and innovation. The festival will feature examples of cutting-edge technologies developed by individual inventors working independently or in corporate, government and university settings:

  • 3D Printer Technology will introduce visitors to MakerBot 3-D technology and allow them to experience 3-D printed objects
  • 3D Systems will showcase a 3-D printer and create 3-D models as visitors watch
  • Caterpillar will present a broad range of technologies and innovations, including hybrid technologies in their excavators and remote operation technology between operators and their machines
  • Edison Nation will demonstrate its Gyro Bowl, a spill-proof bowl that keeps its contents inside no matter how it is turned
  • Ford Motor Company will demonstrate how it is innovating passenger safety with its inflatable seatbelt
  • Looshes Labs LLC will share its Skatecase and BriefSkate, the only skateboards in the world with built-in storage
  • OxySure Systems Inc. owns numerous issued patents and patents pending on technologies that makes the provision of emergency oxygen safer, more accessible and easier to use than traditional oxygen systems
  • Qualcomm will showcase some of the company’s most recent innovations, such as augmented reality, the Internet of Everything and robotics, through interactive experiences, videos and other visuals
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service will demonstrate its simple rapid test for detecting an important plant virus
  • The University of South Florida will allow visitors to try its omnidirectional, smartphone-controlled rolling dance chair. The chair gives dancers with and without disabilities a new interactive and creative movement experience
  • Vestpakz, created by an 11-year-old for a sixth-grade science project, is a vest that serves as a backpack to provide a more comfortable way for students to carry school supplies

The festival also will feature innovative activities that reflect the missions of several Smithsonian museums:

  • The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will facilitate “Ready, Set, Design,” a highly adaptable design challenge that jump-starts collaborative and creative thinking in any group
  • The National Air and Space Museum will demonstrate its wind-tunnel design challenge
  • The National Museum of American History’s Spark!Lab will present activities that challenge visitors to invent a video game controller, a rolling robot or a device that can drive along a wire
  • The National Museum of Natural History will present two activities from its dynamic, interactive and experimental space, Q?rius, about skulls and smell

The National Air and Space Museum is on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

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Nick Partridge       
(202) 633-2374;

Alison Mitchell   
(202) 633-2376;