BioScience COE Student Earns Provisional Patent

October 26, 2017


Josh Kim ’18 receives patent for a device that decreases pain perception through exposure to LED light.

Congratulations to BioScience Center of Excellence student Josh Kim ’18, who was recently notified by the U.S. Patent Office that he had received a provisional patent for his design of a device that decreases pain perception by exposing a patient’s eyes to green light. 

Josh got the idea after he read about experiments in mice that showed that exposure to green LED light increases tolerance to thermal and tactile pain stimulus. Because Josh is planning to pursue a career in dentistry, he thought a natural application of this technology would be to reduce the pain associated with dental procedures. In fact, up to eight percent of U.S. adults avoid going to the dentist due to anxiety about pain, and 20 percent only visit the dentist if they are already in pain. 

Josh received notification of his provisional patent on Wednesday, October 25, and with the help of Dirk Smith, one of the BioScience Program’s biomedical engineers, he is currently finishing up his second prototype. Provisional patents are used to establish an “initial filing date” for new ideas or designs, and provide protection for them for one year. 

  • Dr. Maren LaLiberty, director of the BioScience Center of Excellence, and Dirk Smith, one of the BioScience Program’s biomedical engineers, stand with Josh Kim ’18, as he displays his provisional patent notification.