Inventors of Post-it notes and GPS, 14 others, to be inducted into Inventors Hall of Fame

By Natasha T. Metzler, AP
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Significant inventors inducted into hall of fame

WASHINGTON — The inventors of Post-it notes and the technologies that led to video games, modern scuba diving equipment and GPS technology are among the 16 new members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

The 2010 honorees will be inducted Wednesday afternoon at the Commerce Department. Previous members include Edward Calahan, for inventing the stock ticker, and Samuel Blum for his contribution to the invention of LASIK eye surgery.

Roger Easton said his group was trying to solve a different problem when they created the technology that formed the foundation for GPS.

“It started really with a problem very different from GPS,” he said of the research on time signals. “Some weeks later the idea came that why don’t we use it for navigation?” he said in an interview.

Ralph Baer developed early video game technology while working for a defense contractor. Before inventing the system that became known as the Magnavox Odyssey home video game system, co-workers often asked him how they would make any money from the project.

“People thought I was wasting my time and the company’s money for that matter,” said Baer, who is still working in the gaming industry. “There’s no way anybody could have predicted how fast this industry would take off.”

The Akron, Ohio-based hall was founded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Associations. It has inducted members since 1973 and will have honored 421 inventors with the new class, which includes 6 living and 10 deceased inventors.

“I think it’s a good idea to encourage invention in every way possible,” Easton said about the honor.

The other 2010 inductees:

— Yvonne Brill for the space propulsion system engines called electrothermal hydrazine thrusters.

— Art Fry and Spencer Silver for Post-it notes.

— S. Donald Stookey for glass ceramics.

— M. Judah Folkman for using angiogenesis inhibition in fighting tumors.

— Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan for Aqua-Lung diving equipment.

— W. Lincoln Hawkins, Vincent Lanza and Field Winslow for polymer cable sheath.

— H. Tracy Hall, Herbert Strong, Francis Bundy and Robert Wentorf Jr. for synthetic diamonds.

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May 21, 2010: 8:57 am

Its funny how certain things that no one thinks will succeed end up taking off. Great post.

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