While it may not receive the same media buzz as its counterpart in Cooperstown, induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame is a significant achievement for inventors. The 2013 inductees, recently announced by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), include inventors of plasma displays, modern synthesizers, and cellular technology.
The USPTO founded the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1973 and has been a long-standing partner since the organization’s incorporation as a separate, non-profit educational foundation. To be eligible for nomination, the candidate’s invention must be covered by a U.S. patent, and the work must have had a major impact on society, the public welfare, and the progress of science and the useful arts.
“We look forward to the upcoming induction ceremony, as this year’s class of inductees demonstrates the importance of innovation,” said Frederick Allen, 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.”
Below are a few of the 2013 inductees, as detailed by the USPTO:
- Donald Bitzer, Robert Willson, Gene Slottow (1921-1989) Plasma Display: In the mid-1960s, Don Bitzer and Gene Slottow, faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and graduate student Robert Willson, worked together to create the first plasma display. A new display was needed for the PLATO computerized learning system that had been created by Bitzer because traditional displays had no inherent memory, lacked high brightness and contrast, and flickered.
- Samuel Alderson (1914-2005) Crash Test Dummy: Alderson was a pioneer in developing the crash-test dummy, a full-scale anthropomorphic test device. The crash-test dummy has provided automotive engineers with valuable information, enabling them to design more effective safety features including seat belts and air bags. From its beginnings of use in the automotive industry, dummies have gone on to provide valuable data in all kinds of development and testing, from aircraft to medical technology.
- Joseph Lechleider Digital Subscriber Line (DSL): While working at Bellcore, Lechleider was the first person who demonstrated the feasibility of sending broadband signals over copper. His work turned the existing copper wire phone network into a high-speed broadband delivery instrument, allowing for transmission of data at equal rates in both directions. He also suggested that larger amounts of data could be sent in one direction and smaller amounts in the other, which came to be called asymmetric DSL, or ADSL, the standard used today in much of the world’s DSL connections.
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