Mechanical Engineering professor patents fourth invention


The Beacon / Steffen Horwath

Dr. Edward T. Bednarz III sits with the certificate for his fourth patent.

Jacqueline Kurovsky , News Writer

A love of creativity and new ideas has led one Wilkes faculty member to patent his fourth invention.

Dr. Edward T. Bednarz III, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, recently patented his “System for Identifying the Magnitude and Position of a Load within a Weight Area of a Beam,” also called a force transducer.

Bednarz began formulating the invention while working as an engineer for the United States Armed Forces. At the time, he was working towards his Ph.D and developed the invention alongside advisor Dr. Weidong Zhu. Bednarz said the invention went hand-in hand with his dissertation.

The concept came about when considering a method for getting tanks across enemies’ bridges damaged by military fire.

“The goal [of the invention] was to answer how much force a tank put on a bridge,” said Bednarz. “It’s basically a system that turns a bridge into a scale.”

As this invention was part of his dissertation, Bednarz said he did a lot of the work on his own but also worked with a patent lawyer who turned the patent application into “legal speak.”

As he was working with engineers, the patent lawyer had a technical background and was able to bridge the gap between the technical and legal aspects.

Bednarz said the rest is a waiting game that depends on the review from the patent office. Often, claims in the application will require further explanation. Bednarz said this particular patent application took more than four years to be approved.

Because the government owns the rights to this invention, Bednarz does not have control over how it is used. He said he hopes to see it applied to large-scale projects.

This concept of giving broader uses to inventions created as specialty items extends to Bednarz’s other patents. These include a safety brace for a radar antenna and a deflection plate for a portable dynamometer.

Bednarz has also invented with the help of students. His third patent was for an adjustable wheelchair, which he formulated with four Wilkes students and his wife, Heather. Bednarz says they own the rights to this invention and may look to get it licensed.

Bednarz has a patent pending on a fifth invention, the idea for which came from a group of engineering students and his wife. It is a pressure redistribution system for those who are partially paralyzed.

The invention was designed to help prevent pressure sores which come from sitting in one spot for too long. Bednarz said he hopes for a patent as this system has great commercial-use value.

Autumn Warner is one student who worked with Bednarz on formulating this system. She called Bednarz the driving force behind taking it from a school project to a patent-pending invention.

“He created an atmosphere that let us all use our strengths with this project and create something that all of us are proud of,” she said.

Student Robert Moyer added that a critical part of the project was the guidance and input from Bednarz. Moyer calls him one of the most gifted teachers he’s ever been around.

“I think anyone in our group would agree that any time we were stuck … Dr B’s wisdom and experience got us past any obstacle,” he said.

As a young engineering student, it was the prospect of changing the world that led Bednarz to start inventing. This motivation has not faded.

“I am absolutely going to keep inventing,” Bednarz said, “probably until I’m 80 years old.”