The Center for Automotive Research estimates that 3 to 5 percent of all patents granted in the U.S. are awarded to the auto industry, with as many as 5,000 patents awarded every year. Miner alumni are responsible for several of those. Here are a few examples.
1. Fuel injectors
Mike Dallmeyer, ME’83, holds patents for gasoline fuel injectors in 36 different configurations. Dallmeyer, who holds 50 patents, estimates 250 million of his fuel injectors are in use worldwide.
2. Rubber technology
Lawson G. Wideman, Chem’66, MS Chem’67, patented technology that improved heat and oil resistance on automotive belts and hoses.
3. Traction control
David Thatcher, EE’75, MS EE’76, holds a patent for a traction-control system that helps automobiles handle better in poor road conditions.
4. Bicycle rack lighting
Robert Barr, EE’65, patented a lighting system for vehicle-mounted bicycle racks that syncs with turn, brake and flasher signals and provides a spot to illuminate the license plate.
5. Wheelchair suspension
Michael Weiland, ME’94, holds a patent for a minivan suspension that accommodates a wheelchair lift ramp while preserving the handling characteristics of an un-modified van.
6. Sliding doors
Steven Thiele, ME’96, holds 25 patents that include pinch sensors, covers and housing for minivan sliding doors.