At the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) we have the privilege of honoring some of the world’s greatest innovators — our NIHF Inductees. To celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, we invite you to learn about a few Inductees whose inventions have improved the health and medical outcomes of people around the world!
Each year, unsafe water sources account for over 1 million deaths worldwide. To help address this problem, physicist Ashok Gadgil developed a water disinfecting device that uses UV light to kill harmful pathogens. Using just 60 watts of electricity, the device is able to provide safe and affordable drinking water for 2,000 people each day. Gadgil also invented the Berkeley-Darfur stove, an energy-efficient stove that has significantly reduced the fuel demands of hundreds of thousands of people living in Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as millions within displacement camps within Darfur.
While working as a chemist at 3M Oral Care, Sumita Mitra invented the first dental filling material to include nanoparticles. This new material, Filtek™ Supreme Universal Restorative, offered a significant improvement over existing dental composites with better polish retention, superior strength and the ability to mimic the natural beauty of teeth. The special properties of this material allow it to be used for teeth in any area of the mouth. Since its launch in 2002, 3M has continued to improve the technology, which to this day has been used in over 1 billion restorations worldwide.
In 1981, Rangaswamy Srinivasan made the groundbreaking discovery that an ultraviolet excimer laser had the ability to etch living tissue in such a way as to avoid thermally damaging surrounding areas. He named this phenomenon Ablative Photodecomposition (ADP) and in 1983, he collaborated with an ophthalmic surgeon to develop ADP to etch the cornea. This procedure would later evolve into a method to correct vision known as laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, or LASIK surgery. Since the introduction of this technique, millions of people have benefited from its ability to reduce their dependence on corrective lenses.
As a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Paul Terasaki invented a tissue-typing test that became the international standard for matching potential organ donors with those in need. For decades, the procedure that Terasaki pioneered for matching kidney, heart, liver, pancreas, lung and bone donors and recipients existed as the standard HLA antibody screening method. Additionally, he founded the first kidney transport registry and developed a cold storage solution for preservation during shipping, which revolutionized the field of transplantation science.
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