Helicopter Innovations

Charles H. Kaman has been a leading inventor and businessman in the helicopter industry for over 50 years.

IBOT Mobility System and the Segway

Inventor Dean Kamen has forged a career based on two separate but equally important goals: to improve the lives of others through technology and innovation and to promote opportunities in science, engineering, and invention to young people through education.

Improved Bellows

Nathan Kane received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He succeeded in making a major improvement to a technology that has existed since the Bronze Age: bellows.

X-ray crystallography

Isabella Karle is a true pioneer of physical chemistry, who invented new methods, using first electron and then x-ray diffraction to study the structure of molecules.

Ozone-based sterilization

In his career of over 60 years, Eskil Karlson has produced about 100 inventions. His most impressive efforts have converted a poison into a purifier: ozone-based sterilization systems.

“Smalltalk” Programming Language

Computing pioneer Alan Curtis Kay, creator of the "Smalltalk" programming language, was born in 1940 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Australia where they lived for a few years before moving permanently back to the United States. He learned to read by age three and gained an early appreciation for music, thanks to his mother, a musician. He would later work as a professional jazz guitarist, composer, and theatrical designer and become adept as a classical pipe organist.

“K Brick”

Anna Wagner Keichline was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania in 1889. By the time she was a teenager, it was clear that she was an extraordinary woman who wasn’t going to let the era’s gender barriers hold her back from pursuing her goals. One of four children, her parents encouraged her to develop her natural talent for carpentry and mechanics. She was fortunate enough to have been given her own carpentry tools and a home workshop, and by age fourteen, she was locally known as a skilled craftswoman after winning a prize at the Centre County Fair for an oak table that she built herself.

Kellogs Corn Flakes®

What would breakfast be without Kellogg’s Corn Flakes®? The inventor of this classic cold cereal, eaten around the world every day for nearly a century, was Will Keith Kellogg, born on April 7, 1860 in Battle Creek, Michigan.

All-electric automobile systems

Charles Franklin Kettering invented dozens of important devices, but he is best known as the founder of Delco, the company who brought automobiles into the Age of Electricity.

Integrated Optical Add/Drop Filter

A team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate students conquered a major challenge of high-capacity optical communications by inventing a device that can splice a single signal into or out of the many that are being transmitted together along a fiberoptic line.

Patented Straw Weaving Technique

Though little is known about the details of her life, Mary Dixon Kies has become a familiar name in U.S. history as the first woman ever to be issued a U.S. patent.

The Microchip

Although he has over 60 patents to his credit, Jack Kilby would justly be considered one of the greatest electrical engineers of all time for one invention: the monolithic integrated circuit, or microchip (patent #3,138,743). The microchip made microprocessors possible, and therefore allowed high-speed computing and communications systems to become efficient, convenient, affordable, and ubiquitous.


A tiny, mechanical hand that, when closed, is no larger than a pinhead may have the potential to perform delicate tasks, such as to help physicians perform microsurgeries or to aid robots in defusing bombs.  Chang-Jin "CJ" Kim invented the device with the help of Yen-Wen Lu, dubbing it the “Microhand.”

Genetic breast cancer detection

In a 25-year career of research, education, and activism, Mary-Claire King has succeeded not only in scientific innovation but also in making the world a better place.

Computer Database Systems

Louise Kirkbride, pioneer of computer technologies for customer service, showed her promise as an innovator at age 17, when, against her parents wishes, she left her Philadelphia home for southern California. She had been awarded a full scholarship to the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), where she was a member of the college's first class that included women. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from CalTech, all while waiting tables on campus to earn enough money to pay for books and supplies, as well as learning to fly.

Acoustic Loudspeaker, Home Theatre

In the consumer electronics industry, inventor Henry Kloss has achieved legendary status. While working at Acoustic Research in 1952, Kloss and engineer Edgar Villchur created the first acoustic suspension loudspeaker, the AR-1. This bookshelf-sized speaker could deliver deep bass sounds. It was the first speaker of its kind, and many say it changed the industry forever.

La-Z-Boy Recliner

There was a time when furniture was upright and formal, when seating was relatively hard and rigid and demanding of proper posture. A pair of American cousins from Monroe, Michigan changed all that with their invention of the world’s first reclining chair.

If you ever transported groceries from the store, or packed a lunch for work or school, chances are you’re familiar with Margaret Knight’s invention—the flat-bottomed paper bag. This was the most famous of several inventions that Knight patented at the end of the 19th century.

Kidney Dialysis Machine

Willem Kolff, creator of the first kidney dialysis machine, was born on February 14, 1911 in Leyden, Holland. He became interested in medicine as a child, spending a great deal of time learning from his father, Jacob Kolff, who was the director of the Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Beekbergen. Kolff graduated from the Leyden Medical School in 1938, and in 1941, he received a PhD and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Groeningen.

Kurzweil Reading Machine

Raymond Kurzweil is one of the world’s true pioneers in the field of human-computer interfacing. Born in Queens, New York in 1948, Kurzweil grew up in an academic family. His grandmother was one of the first women in Europe to earn a PhD in chemistry. His parents were artists—his father was a musician and conductor and his mother was a visual artist—who encouraged young Kurzweil’s creativity. At the age of five, he began building his own model boats, cars, and rocket ships. He built a simple computing device when he was 12, and he also learned how to program with the help of his uncle, an engineer at Bell Labs.


Relying on experience and instinct, Stephanie Kwolek invented one of the modern world’s most readily recognized and widely used materials:  Kevlar®.