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ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The National Academy of Inventors named an Army scientist as a fellow.

Dr. Eric Wetzel of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory, is one of only two federal scientists of 168 inventors being recognized.

The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

As the Army Soldier Materials Research lead, Wetzel develops material solutions to benefit the U.S. Soldier. He has approximately 20 patents, as well as a number of patent applications in an array of technology areas that include structural batteries and capacitors, two-dimensional polymer chemistries for armor and 3-D printing technology. He has more than 100 publications, thousands of citations of his work and 10 licensing agreements.

Wetzel's patents on fabrics and tethers (7,825,045, 7,498,276 and 7,226,878) use shear thickening fluids to prevent puncture of textiles to benefit healthcare workers, corrections officers, military personnel, private citizens, astronauts and athletes. These patents led to the creation of a small business, STF Technologies, and product licenses including the Reebok PureMove sports bra, released in 2018.

Wetzel applied shear thickening fluids to invent rate-activated tethers to protect the Soldier, athlete and construction worker from concussions. For this work, he received the 2018 Federal Lab Consortium Excellence in Tech Transfer Award, as well as both Initial and Final Awards in 2014 and 2015 from the National Football League/UnderArmour/GE Head Health Challenge. This technology has been licensed to five companies in diverse fields from physical therapy and rehabilitation, footwear, automotive racing and helmeted sports, as well as Army-specific protection applications including head protection and eyewear straps.

Election to NAI fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded to inventors. To date, NAI fellows hold more than 41,500 issued U.S. patents, which have generated more than 11,000 licensed technologies and companies, and created more than 36 million jobs. In addition, more than $1.6 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI fellow discoveries.

The 2019 fellow class represents 136 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide and collectively hold more than 3,500 issued U.S. patents. Among the 2019 fellows are six recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology & Innovation or U.S. National Medal of Science and four Nobel laureates, as well as other honors and distinctions. Their collective body of research covers a range of scientific disciplines including neurobehavioral sciences, horticulture, photonics and nanomedicine.

Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Laura A. Peter will be the keynote speaker at the NAI Fellows Induction Ceremony, April 10, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona, a commemorative event at the Ninth Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors. At the ceremony, Peter and NAI President Paul R. Sanberg will formally induct fellows in recognition of their outstanding achievements.

The complete list of NAI fellows is available on the NAI website.

Related Links:

National Academy of Inventors

U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory

U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command

Army Futures Command