tm logo

The Patents of Bill Nye, The Science Guy®

Joshua Julien Brouard

Joshua Julien Brouard

14 November 20233 min read

share this blog

bill nye patents

Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

William Sanford Nye is someone who encompasses numerous labels. He's a scientist, a comedian, a Steve Martin look-alike, an educator, a mechanical engineer, an inventor, and an advocate. We know him as Bill Nye, The Science Guy®.

“Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!”

“Bill Nye, The Science Guy!”

His name evokes the energetic, weird, and exciting theme song, much like the man himself, who joyfully explains the world with reverence.

So, how many patents does Bill Nye have? In addition to his 19-time Emmy-award-winning show, Nye holds three distinctive US patents:

  • The Educational Lens
  • The ballerina's Toe Shoe
  • The Throwing Technique Trainer (developed with "baseball guru" Steve Goucher)

Additionally, his name appears on patents from his tenure as a mechanical engineer at Boeing®, along with a design patent for a Digital Abacus (with William M. Pease). 

Let’s explore Bill Nye’s inventions and patents in details:

1. Bill Nye's Educational Lens

Image from Google Patents

The patent, in Nye's voice, radiates a Mr.-Rogers-level of endearment.

He begins by stating, "Modern statistics indicate that the education of American youth is falling behind the other industrialized nations of the world in matters related to science." Using the plural first person, Nye emphasizes: “Science is for everyone. All of us use and benefit from science.”

He continues, stressing the importance of connecting scientific concepts to the physical world to make science interesting and encourage more children to pursue careers in scientific fields.

This collapsible lens, crafted by Nye, aims to teach children how a lens functions. Constructed from polyethylene plastic filled with water, it creates a convex lens. Initially inspired by Ziplock® bags, Nye first used this concept to create a crude magnifying lens. But realizing its shape didn't mimic a real lens, he designed the Educational Lens.

2. Bill Nye's Toe Shoe for ballerinas

Image from Google Patents

This patent offers insight into how Nye sees the world in motion, detailing the scientific aspects of a dancer en pointe. He explains the forces and torques acting on the dancer's body when in a motionless pose, showcasing his ability to connect scientific concepts to the physical world.

Nye's invention of the Toe Shoe was prompted by an episode titled "Bones and Muscle," where he visited the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Witnessing young dancers with multiple foot surgeries led him to contemplate the design of the ballet shoe. He discovered that the centuries-old "pointe shoe" was notably uncomfortable and even painful for dancers.

He invented a ballet shoe capable of providing appropriate support to prevent or reduce injury.

3. Bill Nye & Steve Goucher's throwing technique trainer

Image from Google Patents

A collaboration between Nye and "baseball guru" Steve Goucher, this patent combines Goucher's baseball technique knowledge with Nye's mechanical engineering expertise. The resulting device guides a baseball player's arm to learn proper throwing technique, positioning the player optimally for a throw.

The top ball holder determines finger placement on the ball. Nye and Goucher also developed and sold the Skipper Stick®, a ball retrieval stick attached to a bat, allowing players to pick up balls from the ground without bending over. While the Skipper Stick® trademark is registered to Nye Labs LLC, a search in the USPTO Patent Database yields no results. 

D-BAT® previously sold the Skipper Stick®, but it has been discontinued.

Key takeaways from Bill Nye's patents

Bill Nye's ability to transcend fixed identities is truly inspiring. He reminds us that the lanes in life are meant for all to use. He demonstrates that human beings can embody multiple labels, and limitations shouldn't restrict us from exploring diverse spaces — a true inspiration. 

Want to know how to file your own patent? Read our patent filing 101 article, where we go into detail about precisely this. 


FAQs

What patents does Bill Nye have?

Bill Nye possesses patents for three distinct inventions in the United States. Among these are the Educational Lens, designed to aid learning, the specialized Toe Shoe for ballerinas, and the Throwing Technique Trainer.

What has Bill Nye invented?

Nye is the inventor behind three unique patents in the United States: the Educational Lens, the Toe Shoe for ballerinas, and the Throwing Technique Trainer, which was created in collaboration with the renowned "baseball guru" Steve Goucher.

Is Bill Nye a scientist or engineer?

Bill Nye, while widely recognized as "Bill Nye the Science Guy," is not a formally trained scientist in the traditional sense. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, which aligns more with an engineering background.

 

His career, however, is primarily focused on science communication and education, where he's played a pivotal role in popularizing and simplifying complex scientific concepts through his TV shows, books, and public appearances. 

share this blog

Joshua J. Brouard brings a rich and varied background to his writing endeavors. With a bachelor of commerce degree and a major in law, he possesses an affinity for tackling business-related challenges. His first writing position at a startup proved instrumental in cultivating his robust business acumen, given his integral role in steering the company's expansion. Complementing this is his extensive track record of producing content across diverse domains for various digital marketing agencies.