10 'unsung heroes' of technology

Started by VelMurugan, Sep 02, 2009, 10:23 PM

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10 'unsung heroes' of technology

Most of us have heard about inventors like Abraham Bell, Thomas Alva Edison, Tim Berners Lee and our very own Hotmail man Sabeer Bhatia.

But there are many other technology leaders who through their inventions have changed the very way we work, communicate and entertain ourselves.

While some inventions of these unsung heroes have changed the very face of technology and brought it nearer to the common man rather than just being a tool for scientists in labs, others have made it affordable.

Here's over to the little-known heroes of technology

Source : indiatimes


Marty Cooper, mobile phone

It's a common knowledge that Alexander Graham Bell invented telephone, but ever wondered who invented the mobile phone without which most of us can't imagine our lives today.

It is Marty Cooper. In 1973, while working at Motorola, lead engineer Marty Cooper introduced the world to mobile phone. Cooper is said to have made the world's first-ever mobile phone call on April 3, 1973 to a rival engineer at AT&T's Bell Labs. In October of the same year, Cooper filed a patent for the "Radio telephone system."

Currently, Cooper is CEO and founder of ArrayComm, a company that works on researching smart antenna technology and improving wireless networks.

Popular Star Trek's Captain Kirk's communicator device is said to be Cooper's inspiration.


Mike Lazaridis, BlackBerry

Turkey-born Mike Lazaridis is the founder and co-CEO of Canada-based Blackberry smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIM). The creator of BlackBerry handheld devices, Lazaridis put the wireless email on the map with the Blackberry in 1999.

At a time when the business world was busy sending memos by telex, Lazaridis, a student of the University of Waterloo, Canada, got immersed in networks and email. In 1984, Lazaridis bagged a GM contract worth $500,000 to develop a network computer control display system. Soon after, he dropped out of university to launch RIM.

At an age of 12, he won a prize at the Windsor Public Library for reading every science book in the library.


Tony Fadell, iPod

In late nineties Tony Fadell envisioned the idea of building a compact digital music player that were to sport a quarter-sized hard drives which offered 5GB of storage space. Fadell also thought that the new player could link on the internet with a media service where users can buy music that could be legally downloaded onto the player.

However, his idea was rejected by RealNetworks, on the ground that it was a difficult to justify the creation of a separate personal music device when the player they were selling was successful. Disappointed, Fadell approached Phillips. His idea was turned off at Philips too.

Faddel then took his idea to Apple. The company lapped it up and gave the world iPod. In 2001, the first iPod was released and came with a 5GB Toshiba hard drive, ARM processors, an operating system from Pixo, a lithium polymer battery for added battery life.

Faddel is now the senior vice president of the iPod Division.


Jack Nilles, telecommuting

Do you know who first professed the idea of work at home? Jack Nilles coined the term telecommuting and telework in the early 1970s while working at the University of Southern California. During this time Nilles was working on projects aimed at eliminating rush-hour drives by letting employees work closer to home -- or at home -- via telecommunications links.

Currently, Nilles is the head of JALA International, a management consulting firm he founded to promote the use of telework.

Nilles has also designed space vehicles and communications systems for the US Air Force and NASA. Nilles is the author of five books, including The Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff.


Doug Engelbart, mouse

Doug Engelbart is the inventor of computer mouse, the small device that changed the way computers work. The invention of mouse goes a long way in the transition of computer from a machine used by scientists to a productivity and entertainment box used by common people.

In 1964, the first prototype computer mouse was made to use with a graphical user interface (GUI), 'windows'. Engelbart received a patent for the wooden shell with two metal wheels in 1970.

A pioneer of human-computer interaction, his team developed hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to GUIs. Presently, he heads the Bootstrap Institute.


Gary Thuerk, spam

Wonder who started the spam that perennially clogs your inbox? Gary Thuerk, is widely considered as the world's first email spammer.

In 1978, Thuerk, a marketing manager for Digital Equipment Corp, sent out the first spam over the network of government and university computers known as the ARPAnet. His idea was to publicise open houses in Los Angeles and San Mateo.


John Cioffi, DSL

John Cioffi gave the world internet broadband. Widely regarded as the father of DSL (digital subscriber line), Cioffi has published over 400 papers and holds over 100 patents.

Cioffi's interest in DSL began in 1979, and he explored the field at Stanford and then at Amati Communications Corp, a San Jose company that specialised in digital modem technology.

He also worked with Bell Laboratories as a modem designer that gave Cioffi his first taste of sending digital signals over analog telephone connections. In 1984, Cioffi joined IBM as a read-channel researcher on magnetic hard-disk drives.

The media shy Cioffi is currently Hitachi America Professor of Engineering at Stanford University.


James Gosling, Java

James Gosling is the father of the popular programming language Java. A PhD in Computer Science, Gosling created the original design of Java in 1991 while working at Sun Microsystems. The language was originally named Oak and was developed as a part of the Green project at Sun.

Canada-born Gosling has also made several contributions to other software systems such as NeWS and Gosling Emacs. He is credited for building satellite data acquisition systems, a multiprocessor version of Unix, several compilers, mail systems and window managers.


John Backus, Fortran

John Backus is the inventor of the world's first widely-used high-level computer programming language, FORTRAN. The development of Fortran programming language in the 1950s changed the way how people interact with computers and paved the way for modern software.

Prior to Fortran, computers had to be meticulously "hand-coded" -- programmed in the raw strings of digits that triggered actions inside the machine.

The breakthrough earned Backus the 1977 Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery, one of the industry's highest accolades.

Backus' early work at IBM included computing lunar positions on the balky, bulky computers that were state of the art in the 1950s. He also invented Backus-Naur Form (BNF), a standard notation used to describe the sytanx of a computer language. Backus died in 2007 at the age of 82.


Vic Hayes, Wi-fi

Vic Hayes is credited for developing IEEE 802.11 Standards.

The Dutch-born electrical engineer, Hayes co-established and chaired the IEEE 802.11 Standards Working Group for Wireless Local Area Networks.

For his work on Wi-Fi, Hayes received the Innovation Award 2004 from "The Economist", the Dutch Vosko Trophy, Wi-Fi Alliance Leadership Awards, The IEEE Standards Medallion, the IEEE Leadership Award, the IEEE Hans Karlsson Award and the IEEE Steinmetz Award.

Currently, he is a senior research fellow at the Delft University of Technology.


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