to aid individuals with muscular atrophying diseases such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy.
Innovation: The technologies Brown’s team are creating act much like an extra skeleton system also referred to as a “wearable robot,” to help people with neuromuscular diseases and musculoskeletal injuries regain the use of their limbs.
Instrument Systems Branch Associate Head
Douglas is one of the lead developers of variable emittance coatings, two-phase systems, spacecraft and instrument thermal design and control, and instrument systems engineering. The technology her team develops makes sure the sensitive electronic equipment within a spacecraft will survive the unearthly heat and cold of outer space.
Innovation: Douglas led the concept development, design, integration, and testing of thermal control systems for research, weather, communication satellites, as well as the Hubbell Space Telescope.
Further Reading: Top African Americans in Technology
CHINEDU U. ECHERUO
With the Internet as a platform, Echeruo, a Harvard University M.B.A. graduate, set up HopStop.com in 2005. The site offers integrated Web, SMS text message, and audio-based public transportation guides for travelers in several cities throughout the U.S. HopStop boasts 1.75 million visits and 10 million page views per month. In 2007 Echeruo raised approximately $5 million to launch Tripology.com, a online portal where travelers can connect with destination-specific travel agents.
Innovation: Echeruo is gearing up to invest in mobile technology in Nigeria.
PAULA THERESE HAMMOND
Professor of Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
It sounds like something the Dark Knight would wear—a specially constructed suit with electronics that detect threats before they strike and can even defend its wearer from biological and chemical attacks. As fantastic as it may sound, this is real—and just part of Hammond’s research.
Hammond’s work for the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, a $10 million a year research project at MIT for the Army, looks to develop structured materials using nanotechnology to protect soldiers. “In my own research group, we’ve been working on reactive/protective coatings that can be put on the fibers of soldiers’ uniforms that upon exposure to some of the chemical agents, absorb that chemical agent and react it down to products that are harmless,” she says.
Hammond has also been instrumental in developing technologies that may find their way into the next generation of laptop computers and cell phones—and possibly even automobiles. Imagine a notebook or mobile phone that doesn’t need to be charged, and instead of a battery has a small chemical engine that you just add a few drops of methanol to in order to keep it going. “We were able to improve the efficiency of methanol fuel cells by a factor of 40% to 50%, depending on the temperature you run them at.”
President, Chairman & CEO
Gene Network Sciences
According to Hill, it took 13 years and roughly $11 billion to complete the Human Genome Project, which identifies all the genes in human DNA. Now it costs less than $50,000 and takes three weeks. Within the next three years, Hill predicts that technology will make it doable in five minutes for less than $100.