National Inventors Hall of Fame Honors 2011 Inductees

Innovative Group includes Inventors of the Barcode, Defibrillator Batteries, Secure Internet Communications

May 04, 2011, 08:00 ET from National Inventors Hall of Fame

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 complete list of inventors receiving posthumous recognition can be found at the Hall of Fame's website,

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

SOURCE National Inventors Hall of Fame