Smart Gels

Born and raised in Japan, Toyoichi Tanaka received his higher education at the University of Tokyo, where he earned a BS (1968), MS (1970), and DSc (1973), in Physics.  In 1975, he joined the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he rose to the rank of Professor of Physics as well as Morningstar Professor of Science.


It takes a rare combination of creativity and ingenuity to create practical fashion. And inventor-entrepreneur Victoria Tane has it. Creator of the Headbenz® lines of accessories, Tane has sold hundreds of thousands of her comfortable, stylish headbands and jewelry pieces.

Telkes Solar Cooker

For centuries human beings have attempted to capture and direct for a variety of specific uses the incredible natural energy radiated from the sun. This heavenly body provides, according to a generally accepted standard, approximately 1,000 watts per meter squared at sea level; the trick is in harnessing and targeting it in the place desired for it to be able to accomplish specific tasks.

Amphibious Sandals

Mark Thatcher reinvented an item of dress as old as civilization itself, the sandal, and succeeded in making his product the basis of a revolution in lifestyle.

The Theremin

Just a few years after the invention of the vacuum tube, Leon Theremin invented one of the world’s first and most unique electronic musical intruments:  the aetherphone, better known as the Theremin.

Articulated Optical DVD Technology

Engineer and inventor Fred C. Thomas was born on October 25, 1959 in Washington D.C. With his diplomat parents he traveled and lived all over the world, including time spent in Pakistan, South Vietnam, India, Taiwan, Germany and the Philippines, as well as the United States. His father had been an electrical engineer earlier in his career and it was he who inspired his son’s interest in technology, especially solar energy. When the younger Thomas began to see media coverage of innovations that were very similar to ideas he had years earlier, he realized he might have a special talent for developing new technological concepts. He entered Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania where he completed his BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1983.

Illusion Transmitter

Valerie L. Thomas was born in February of 1943 in Maryland. She was fascinated with technology as a very young child. Around the age of eight, her curiosity about how things worked inspired her to borrow a book called, “The Boy’s First Book On Electronics," which she took home in the hopes that her father would help her take on some of the projects in it. After all, he liked to tinker with radios and television sets. But he did not help her.

Advances in Electric Lighting

Elihu Thomson was born in England on March 29, 1853. He would later become one of the most prolific inventors in U.S. history and would join Thomas Edison to form one of the most pervasive companies in the world, General Electric.

Linux Operating System

Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux Operating System, was born December 28, 1969 in Helsinki, Finland. His grandfather had a Commodore VIC-20 that he had the opportunity to work with; by age ten he was already dabbling in programming. He enrolled at the University of Helsinki in 1989, and in 1990 he took his first C programming class.

Totino Frozen Pizza

Rose Totino was born in 1915, one of seven children of Italian immigrant parents. The family settled in Minneapolis. At age 16, Totino dropped out of school and began cleaning houses to help out with the family's household expenses. She had learned a dedicated work ethic from her father, who believed hard work was the only way to success.

56K Bit/sec Modem

Canadian inventor and electrical engineer, Brent Townshend, created a core concept in 1996 that served as the basis for what is known as the 56K bit/sec modem, a groundbreaking technology at the time that allowed for data transfer between two computers at high speeds.


By a two-step process of invention, Earl S. Tupper created one of the most practical items of Americana to date:  the airtight plastic food container that still bears his name.

Interstate Highway System

Francis “Frank” Turner is credited with having developed the interstate highway system, as we know it in the United States. In 1929, the Dallas native graduated from the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Texas A&M University) and immediately joined the Bureau of Public Roads as a Junior Highway Engineer. There, he was assigned to field service in the Bureau’s research program in what was then called the Division of Management. He was one of a group of college graduates selected each year to participate in a training program which focused on building methods designed to reduce the costs of highway construction. At the time, highway engineering was a brand new field.

Multi-terrain wheelchair

Colin S. Twitchell transformed his own love of outdoor activities into a distinguished career in the development of products that make such activities accessible to the physically challenged.