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Meet seven inventors who have made Florida a ‘powerhouse of innovation’

Margie Manning



2021 inductees in the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame

The inventor of the Segway and a co-inventor of technology that revolutionized modern day computing are among the seven newest inductees in the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

The 2021 class also includes an engineering professor at University of South Florida who has pioneered advances to decontaminate water and develop biomedical solutions for acute diseases.

All of the inventors have a connection to Florida and have tackled challenging situations using world-changing innovation, said Paul Sanberg, chair of the advisory board for the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. The organization, located at USF Research Park in Tampa, recognizes and commends Florida inventors whose achievements have advanced the quality of life for Floridians, the state and the nation. 

“This group of inventors is to be commended for their contributions to the state of Florida and our nation,” said Sanberg, who also is president of the National Academy of Inventors. “Together, they show that Florida is a powerhouse of innovation.” 

Here’s a closer look at each inductee.

Norma A. Alcantar, professor of chemical, biological and materials engineering at USF. She pioneered advances in chemical applications of plant-based molecules to decontaminate water in remote regions that lack access to drinking water, and in areas impacted by environmental and natural disasters. She also developed biomedical solutions based on this technology for novel therapies to fight Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer. She further applied these technologies for sustainable agriculture and aquaculture. She hold 22 U.S. patents.

Mark Dean, professor emeritus at the University of Tennessee, former chief technology officer of the Middle East and Africa for IBM and IBM Fellow, and a Florida Atlantic University alumnus. He holds three of the nine patents for the original IBM PC, led the development of the one-gigahertz processor chip, and is one of the original inventors of the Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) “bus,” which permitted plug-in peripheral devices to be connected to computers, revolutionizing computer capability. He holds 43 U.S. patents. 

Roberta A. Goode, founder and president of Altrec LLC in Coral Springs, Florida. She also serves on the faculty of the University of Miami College of Engineering. She is a Florida native and alumna of University of Miami. Her breakthrough patents in valve designs for vascular catheters significantly advanced the field of minimally-invasive cardiac procedures and diagnostic procedures, and improved patient outcomes by preventing blood loss and reducing surgical risk. She holds four U.S. patents. 

Dean Kamen, president of DEKA Research and Development, Founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and part-time Florida resident whose STEM education efforts through FIRST have impacted over 1 million students nationally and 10,000 students in Florida. Kamen is often referred to as the modern Thomas Edison due to the breadth and scope of his trailblazing inventions, including the Segway. He holds more than 440 U.S. patents, including for several medical devices. 

Susann Keohane, IBM global research leader for the Aging Initiative, Watson Health & Healthy Aging Innovation Leader, IBM Master Inventor, and University of Florida alumna. She holds a series of patents in autonomous vehicles, and is responsible for advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things that are transforming technology for people with disabilities and the aging population. She holds 137 U.S. patents. 

David M. Kotick, senior science technical manager for live, virtual, and constructive simulation and training at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, and University of Central Florida alumnus. His work integrating digital communications across live and virtual training environments has significantly advanced simulated training for the U.S. military and benefited overall readiness. He holds five U.S. patents.

Rajiv K. Singh, vice president at Entegris and professor emeritus in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida. He is one of the original developers of pulsed laser deposition and the inventor of chemical mechanical polishing for mechanically hard advanced electronic materials used in manufacturing of smart phones, advanced silicon carbide electronics for electric vehicles, 5G  communications and more. He holds 26 U.S. patents. 

The 2021 Inductees constitute the eighth class to be inducted into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. They will be recognized at the 7th Annual Induction Ceremony and Gala, Friday, Nov. 5 at the Tampa Marriott Water Street. 

Since its founding in 2013, the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame has inducted 58 inventors, who collectively hold more than 3,675 U.S. patents. 

Related: Actress Hedy Lamarr among eight Florida Inventors Hall of Fame inductees


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