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The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF), in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), announced the 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees, all of whom have changed the world through human, social and/or economic progress.

Among this year’s class of Inductees is Nobel Prize winner Shuji Nakamura, responsible for the blue light-emitting diode (LED) which enabled the white LED, and the blue laser diode; Jaap Haartsen, the inventor of Bluetooth® technology, now used in 2.7 billion devices and growing; George Alcorn, who furthered deep space exploration with his X-ray spectrometer; Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp, pioneers in display technology related to rear projection television and 3D applications; and duo Ioannis Yannas and John Burke, who have saved the lives of many burn victims with their invention of Artificial Skin.

“Our new group of Inductees have unique stories that personify the pursuit of the American dream and their relentless drive to overcome adversity,” said Invent Now, Inc. CEO Michael Oister. “Despite the obstacles, they have advanced our nation through innovative ideas, groundbreaking technologies, fearless dedication and collaborative work.”


The 2015 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees are:

George Alcorn
George Alcorn invented the Imaging X-ray Spectrometer, which significantly improved the ability of scientists to identify materials through their visual X-ray spectra and to gather analytical data on remote solar systems, including distant planets and stars.

Mary-Dell Chilton
Mary-Dell Chilton’s research in agricultural biotechnology resulted in the first Transgenic Plant, which has made it possible to develop crops with increased yields, resistance to insects and disease and the ability to tolerate adverse environmental conditions.

Jaap C. Haartsen
Jaap Haartsen led the invention of Bluetooth®, a wireless communications technology for the connection of devices over short distances. The market for Bluetooth® devices in 2014 was 2.7 billion devices and the Bluetooth® Special Interest Group (SIG) has more than 20,000 member firms using the technology in their products.

Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp
Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp are recognized as pioneers in polarization-control technology. Their inventions enabled high-speed spectrometers, color-management for business projectors and projection TVs, and the 3D digital-cinema. Their technology made it possible for movie-goers to see high-quality 3D at their neighborhood cinema, including movies such as Avatar and hundreds since.

Shuji Nakamura
Shuji Nakamura invented the blue light-emitting diode (LED), considered groundbreaking in the field of semiconductor research.  His blue LED enabled the elusive white LED, and he also invented the blue laser diode used in Blu-ray technology.

John Burke and Ioannis Yannas
Surgeon John Burke (honored posthumously) and MIT engineering and chemistry professor Ioannis Yannas collaborated on research Burke was conducting for burn patients. Together, they developed the first commercially reproducible artificial human skin that encouraged and facilitated new skin growth.

Edith Clarke
Edith Clarke (honored posthumously), a pioneering female electrical engineer, invented a graphical calculator that greatly simplified the calculations necessary to determine the electrical characteristics of long electrical transmission lines.

Marion Donovan
Marion Donovan (honored posthumously) invented a waterproof diaper cover, a predecessor of the disposable diaper; she patented it and sold the rights for $1 million.  Constantly creating inventions to meet life’s everyday needs, she is credited with being one of a small number of successful women inventors of her era.

Charles Drew
Charles Drew (honored posthumously) was an African-American physician and researcher renowned for his groundbreaking work in blood plasma preservation.

Thomas Jennings
Thomas Jennings (honored posthumously) invented a process that he called “dry-scouring” – what we now call dry cleaning – and received a patent for his process in 1821, becoming the first African-American to be granted a patent.

Paul MacCready
Paul MacCready (honored posthumously) changed how people thought about aviation with his invention of the Gossamer Condor, the first human-powered craft.

Stanford Ovshinsky
Stanford Ovshinsky (honored posthumously) was a prolific inventor who specialized in amorphous materials that resulted in dramatic improvements in battery technology, electronics and solar power. Ovshinsky had more than 400 United States and international patents, including many related to the nickel-metal hydride battery and the field of alternative energy.


The National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in the Madison Building on the USPTO Campus in Alexandria, VA, was established in 1973 and honors monumental individuals who have contributed great technological and science achievements and helped stimulate growth for our nation and beyond. The criteria for induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame requires candidates to hold a U.S. patent that has contributed significantly to the nation's welfare and the advancement of science and the useful arts.

“This year’s Inductees once again remind us of how significantly the world as we know it can be transformed when innovative minds apply themselves to vexing challenges,” said Michelle K. Lee, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO. “We are honored to join with the National Inventors Hall of Fame in giving due credit to these inspiring innovators who have improved our lives while maximizing the strengths of the U.S. patent system.”

Both new and previous Inductees will be honored in the greatest celebration of American innovation. This three-day event series held in our nation’s capital will include the National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony emceed by Mo Rocca, CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and Host of Innovation Nation.

•    May 11th - Illumination Ceremony on the USPTO Campus in Alexandria, VA, where Inductees will place individual illuminated hexagons bearing their names in the centerpiece display to symbolize lighting the path of history throughout the nation, while simultaneously influencing the future of innovation

•    May 12th – A VIP Reception followed by the official National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, where the new Inductee class will be honored for lighting the “fire of genius” through their contributions to the prosperity and well-being of America and the world

•    May 13th - The National Inventors Hall of Fame will illuminate America’s path to innovation through a panel discussion comprised of some of the most influential technology leaders in America, presented with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

As part of their continued involvement in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Inductees will help to foster the development of America’s next generation of innovators by inspiring the curriculum of Camp Invention, the nation’s premier summer enrichment day camp that encourages innovation in youth and focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Inductees will also help select winners in the annual Collegiate Inventors Competition, a national platform for showcasing the emerging ideas and technologies that will benefit our society in the future.

For more information, visit: www.invent.org

3D Systems  (NYSE:DDD) announced that Chuck Hull, the inventor of 3D printing and founder of 3D Systems, will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) for his globally impactful and transformative work inventing and pioneering 3D printing. With this induction, Hull joins the ranks of formerly honored inventors, including Eli Whitney, Thomas Edison, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Henry Ford, and George Eastman, as well as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

Hull is being recognized by the NIHF and the United States Patent and Trademark Office for his ground-breaking invention of the original 3D printing technology, Stereolithography (SLA). Hull also co-created the STL file format, which continues to be the gold standard in ultra high-definition 3D printing connectivity with all CAD formats. In 1983, Hull 3D printed a small cup, the first-ever object created with additive technology. The success of Hull’s process served as a catalyst to his founding of 3D Systems in 1986.

Hull continues to lead the 3D printing revolution as 3D Systems’ Chief Technology Officer, celebrating 30 years of continuous 3D printing innovation and presiding over seven different 3D print technologies, more than 100 materials and 1,700 patents.

Since 1973, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has been honoring the individuals who have conceived, patented and advanced great technological achievements dating back to the birth of our nation. To be inducted, candidates must hold a United States patent that has contributed significantly to the nation’s welfare and the advancement of science and useful arts.

“Each year we have the distinct honor of recognizing individuals whose contributions to society will resound throughout the ages,” said Michael Oister, Invent Now CEO. “3D printing is an astounding technology that is poised to change the way our world works and the way we interact with it. We are delighted to welcome Chuck Hull to our NIHF family.”

“I am deeply honored to become a part of the NIHF and be considered among the group of high caliber innovators who have transformed the world and improved the human condition in tangible and powerful ways,” said Chuck Hull, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, 3DS. “I always knew that 3D printing had the capacity to change the entire design-to-manufacture process, but could not have anticipated the full impact that my work would have on every facet of our lives. It is incredibly humbling and exhilarating to be a part of this transformation.”

Hull will be honored on May 21, 2014, at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia.

For more information, visit: www.invent.org/hall-of-fame

Published in 3D Systems

In celebration of its mission to recognize and foster invention, the National Inventors Hall of Fame has announced its 2012 Inductees.  The inventors to be honored this year created remarkable innovations that include the now ubiquitous laser printer commonly found in the workplace, the thin-film head technology that has contributed to the success of the disk drive industry, and the first statin which pioneered the class of drugs targeted at lowering cholesterol.

This year's Induction ceremony, sponsored in part by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, will take place on May 2 at the historic Patent Office Building, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, in Washington, D.C.  At that time, the 2012 Inductees will be recognized for work such as the carbon dioxide laser which is widely used across diverse fields, the design of computer programming languages, and solar thermal storage innovations.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame 2012 Inductees are:

Akira Endo Mevastatin, the first statin – Endo discovered mevastatin, the first statin, pioneering research into a new class of molecules that are now a hugely successful class of drugs targeting the lowering of cholesterol.  His work was done at Sankyo Company in Japan, and he is currently Director of Biopharm Research Laboratories and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.

Barbara Liskov Programming languages and system design – MIT Institute Professor Liskov is considered an innovator in the design of computer programming languages, largely for helping to make computer programs more reliable, secure, and easy to use.  Her innovations can be found within almost all modern programming languages.  

C. Kumar N. Patel Carbon dioxide laser – Patel invented the CO2 laser while at Bell Labs.  Since ushering in the use of high power laser applications, the CO2 laser has become common and versatile with uses in the medical, industrial, and military arenas.  Patel founded his own company, Pranalytica, to manufacture mid-infrared quantum cascade laser systems and gas sensing instruments. He is also a professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA.

Lubomyr Romankiw, David Thompson Thin-film magnetic head – IBM researchers Romankiw and Thompson invented the first practical magnetic thin-film storage heads.  Thin-film technology increased the density of data that could be stored on magnetic disks, even while the disk size was being substantially reduced, dramatically reducing the cost of data storage.

Gary Starkweather Laser printer – Starkweather's laser printer, invented at the Xerox PARC facility, was the first to print any images that could be created on a computer; a laser beam carried digital information, and the copier then developed the imaged digital information to make a print.  The laser printer would go on to become one of Xerox's best selling products of all time.

Alejandro Zaffaroni Controlled drug delivery systems – Biotechnology innovator Zaffaroni conducted early work in controlled drug delivery methods, particularly early concepts for transdermal patches, which led to the growth of research in innovative drug delivery systems.  He has founded numerous biotech companies throughout his career.

Dennis Gabor (1900-1979) Electron holography – Gabor is best known for his research in electron optics which led to the invention of holography.  Because of his efforts and also the efforts of researchers after him, holography has seen numerous modern day applications.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011) Technology – Co-founder of both Apple and Pixar, Jobs was named on over 300 patents and is credited with revolutionizing entire industries, including personal computing, mobile phones, animated movies, digital publishing and retailing.

Maria Telkes (1900-1995) Solar thermal storage systems – Telkes was a highly respected innovator and a foremost authority in the field of solar energy, widely publishing and inventing on the topic throughout her career.  Ultimately Professor Emeritus at the University of Delaware, Telkes also spent time at MIT, NYU, and in industry.

"This year's class of Inductees demonstrates the importance of innovation," said Edward Gray, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.  "The applications and widespread use of their inventions show us how vital ingenuity is to not just the well-being of the United States, but also the rest of the world."

The National Inventors Hall of Fame annually accepts nominations for men and women whose work has changed society and improved the quality of life.  The candidate's invention must be covered by a United States patent, and the work must have had a major impact on society, the public welfare, and the progress of science and the useful arts.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame is the premier non-profit organization in America dedicated to honoring legendary inventors whose innovations and entrepreneurial endeavors have changed the world.  Founded in 1973 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the Hall of Fame will have 470 Inductees with its 2012 Induction.  The National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum is located in the atrium of the Madison Building on the campus of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA.  Hall of Fame hours are Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday from Noon to 5 PM (closed Sundays and federal holidays).  Admission is free.

For more information, visit: www.invent.org

In celebration of the spirit of innovation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame today honors its 2011 Inductees with a formal Induction ceremony, taking place at the historic Patent Office Building, now home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, in Washington, D.C.  The influence of this year's Inductees can be seen throughout the economy, from the medical device industry to modern imaging, from industrial manufacturing to e-commerce, and from kitchen cookware to iconic colored crayons.

The Induction ceremony, sponsored in part by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Kauffman Foundation, will honor both living and historical inventors.  The living inventors have given us inventions that we utilize every day, including the digital camera, the barcode, and the technology that allows for secure communication over the Internet.  The site for the recognition of historical inventors is particularly appropriate since almost all the inventors would have submitted patent applications to the same building where they are being honored.

"Paying tribute to this year's Inductees at the old Patent Office Building is a fitting celebration of their innovations," said Edward Gray, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. "We hope that this recognition of their tremendous achievements will inspire today and tomorrow's new generations of inventors."

"It is truly a privilege to celebrate and honor such a distinguished group of innovators," said David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.  "Their ingenuity has transformed the very way we interact with the world, and their patented inventions have built businesses that have created jobs and inspired new technological development for generations to come.  The USPTO is delighted to join in recognizing these 39 Inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame."

This year, nine living inventors are honored, one of whom has a deceased co-inventor:

George Devol, Industrial Robot: Devol created the Unimate industrial robot and co-founded Unimation, Inc., the company that manufactured the Unimate.

Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman, Ralph Merkle, Public Key Cryptography: PKC provides security on the otherwise highly insecure Internet, making it vital to such areas as e-commerce.

Eric Fossum, CMOS Active Pixel Sensor Camera-on-a-Chip: CMOS image sensors are a fixture in imaging, found in camera phones, digital SLR cameras, automotive safety systems, swallowable pill cameras, and more.

Gary Michelson, Spinal Surgical Devices: Orthopedic spinal surgeon Michelson has a portfolio of over 250 U.S. and 500 foreign patents related to minimally invasive spinal fusion methods, instruments, and implants.

Steven Sasson, Digital Camera: Sasson invented the first digital camera in 1975 at Eastman Kodak.

Esther S. Takeuchi, Lithium/Silver Vanadium Oxide Battery: Takeuchi led efforts to invent and refine Li/SVO battery technology, utilized in the majority of today's implantable defibrillators.

N. Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver (1924-1963), First Optically Scanned Barcode: Woodland and Silver invented the first optically scanned barcode.  First used by grocery stores, barcodes have many additional uses today.

These Inductees envisioned completely new ideas, achieving what some did not think possible, and their life changing work serves as encouragement to others today.  "I'm thrilled to be honored along with Whit and Ralph for inventing public key cryptography, especially in light of the thinking that we were on a fool's errand," said Inductee Martin Hellman. "I hope this validation of 'the wisdom of foolishness' will encourage today's young people to follow their dreams even when—maybe especially when—conventional wisdom sees their paths as dead ends."

In addition, the National Inventors Hall of Fame is bestowing posthumous recognition on a group of 29 historic inventors whose work in the last decades of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century provided a foundation for continued and future innovation. The group includes innovators such as Edwin Binney, who as co-owner of Binney & Smith manufactured carbon black and later became known for creating Crayola crayons.  Eugene Sullivan, who was head of research at Corning Glass Works, helped to develop the popular Pyrex® brand cookware through his work with borosilicate glass.  Mary Anderson invented a windshield clearing device, which evolved into the modern windshield wiper, and Albert Dick, founder of the A.B. Dick Company, invented duplicating equipment, including the mimeograph machine.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame annually accepts nominations for men and women whose work has changed society and improved the quality of life.  The candidate's invention must be covered by a United States patent, and the work must have had a major impact on society, the public welfare, and the progress of science and the useful arts.

About the Hall of Fame

The National Inventors Hall of Fame is the premier non-profit organization in America dedicated to honoring legendary inventors whose innovations and entrepreneurial endeavors have changed the world.  Founded in 1973 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the Hall of Fame has 460 Inductees with its 2011 Induction.   The National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum is located in the atrium of the Madison Building on the campus of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA.  Hall of Fame hours are Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM, and Saturday from Noon to 5 PM (closed Sundays and federal holidays). Admission is free.  For more information on the National Inventors Hall of Fame, including Inductee nomination forms and a full listing of Inductees, please visit www.invent.org.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame today announced it will induct retired IBMer (NYSE: IBM) Norman Joseph Woodland for his contribution to the invention of the Universal Product Code (UPC).  The UPC has become the world's most pervasive inventory tracking tool and has transformed the way consumers shop, how businesses and retailers manage inventory -- from large industrial equipment to canned goods sold in grocery stores.

IBM now has 12 members in the prestigious National Inventors Hall of Fame. They have been honored for a variety of seminal inventions ranging from LASIK Eye Surgery to the Scanning Tunneling Microscope, used to obtain atomic-scale images of the surface of metals.

"2011 is IBM's 100th anniversary, and inventors such as Joseph Woodland have pioneered many breakthroughs that have transformed the way we work and live," said Dr. Mark Dean, IBM Fellow, vice president of Technical Strategy for IBM Research and a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame since 1997 for his invention that paved the way for the personal computer. "Through their determination, and the unwavering pursuit of progress, IBM inventors are making the world a better place for us today and in the future."

Woodland and his co-inventor, Bernard Silver, who also will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, were working at Drexel University when they applied for the first bar code technology patent on October 20, 1949.  Woodland joined IBM in 1951 and received a patent for the invention on October 7, 1952. The technology went undeveloped for more than two decades because, at the time, there was no way to read the code, until the laser became a practical tool.

In the early 1970s, Woodland worked with a team of IBMers that developed a system that used a laser scanner to digitally read a bar code derived from his original invention. At that time, an American grocery industry task force was evaluating standards that would enable supermarkets to automate and speed checkout at stores, as well as drive down costs associated with handling and managing inventory.

The grocery task force eventually settled on a standard that very closely paralleled IBM's approach and, in 1973, IBM became one of the earliest vendors to market a point-of-sale system with a checkout scanner that could read the UPC symbol based on Woodland's invention. The first UPC scan occurred on June 26, 1974 when a shopper by the name of Clyde Dawson purchased a 10-pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit chewing gum from cashier Sharon Buchanan at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The scan was successful, and the gum rang up at 67 cents.

By 1980, the number of grocery stores using the UPC technology jumped to more than 2,200. UPC codes are now used worldwide by all kinds of organizations, schools, universities and companies in all industries to leverage the power of data and information management to organize and run their operations. In many countries, almost every item purchased in a retail store has a UPC code on it, resulting in bar codes being scanned billions of times each day.

The UPC represents one of the earliest forms of "instrumentation," through which objects are embedded with a code that enables people to collect data from these embedded objects and analyze the available information to make better, more informed decisions. In the future, the improvements UPC has delivered to society will be advanced by radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, which use wireless networking technology to capture data and yield new insights that can change the way products and services are  marketed, sold and consumed.

Norman Joseph Woodland will be inducted in the National Inventors Hall of Fame in a ceremony on May 4, 2011.

Other IBMers in the Inventors Hall of Fame are:

* Louis Stevens: Data Storage Machine, inducted 2008
* William Goddard: Magnetic Disk Drive, inducted 2007
* John Lynott: Magnetic Disk Drive, inducted 2007
* Samuel Blum: LASIK Eye Surgery, inducted 2002
* Rangaswamy Srinivasan: LASIK Eye Surgery, inducted 2002
* Jim Wynne: LASIK Eye Surgery, inducted 2002
* Mark Dean: Microcomputer System with Bus Control Means for Peripheral Processing Devices, inducted 1997
* Dennis Moeller: Microcomputer System with Bus Control Means for Peripheral Processing Devices, inducted 1997
* Robert Heath Dennard: Field-Effect Transistor Memory DRAM, inducted 1997
* Gerd Karl Binnig: Scanning Tunneling Microscope, inducted 1994
* Heinrich Rohrer: Scanning Tunneling Microscope, inducted 1994


The National Inventors Hall of Fame, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recognizing and honoring invention and creativity.  The Hall of Fame honors the men and women responsible for the great technological advances that make human, social and economic progress possible.  The organization seeks to give these outstanding individuals the recognition they so rightly deserve as well as inspire future generations of innovators through the light of their examples.

For more information about Norman Joseph Woodland and other IBMers who have helped transform our world over the past 100 years, please visit IBM at 100.

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