The Florida Inventors Hall of Fame will formally induct eight inventors from across the state on Friday evening, Sept. 8, recognizing their innovations that have revolutionized global communications, provided better health care, and advanced artificial intelligence and other modern technologies. The induction gala and ceremony will held at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.
This year’s class includes USF Distinguished Professor of Engineering Richard Gitlin, the coinventor of DSL (digital subscriber line), a technology that allowed Internet access over telephone networks. Also joining the Hall of Fame is the first couple to be inducted, Drs. T. Dwayne and Mary Helen McCay, who jointly hold 15 U.S. patents in the area of metallurgical engineering.
USF electrical engineer Richard Gitlin, ScD, will be recognized for his innovative research and development in digital communications, broadband networking, and wireless systems that transformed communication technology.
Andrew Hirshfeld, commissioner for patents for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,will induct the 2017 class. Collectively, the inductees hold more than 260 U.S. patents.
This is the 4th annual ceremony for the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, whose home is at the USF Research Park where the inventors are recognized in the Inventors Walk of Fame and in an exhibit of artifacts. The new honorees join 20 fellow Floridians and former Florida residents - including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, John Gorrie and Robert Cade – who have contributed to the state’s rich history as innovation leaders.
The 2017 inductees of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame are:
- Issa Batarseh, director of the Florida Power Electronics Center and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, for inventing low cost, high efficiency micro-inverters for photovoltaic (PV) applications that led to the creation of the first compact single solar PV panel. Batarseh holds 28 U.S. patents.
- Michael J. DeLuca, electrical engineer and IP counsel for NextEra Energy and Florida Power & Light, in Juno Beach, for his groundbreaking technology known today as “voltage scaling,” which significantly increased the battery life of portable communication devices. DeLuca holds more than 145 U.S. patents in several different fields, including electric power conservation, wireless communications, advanced interfaces, augmented reality, and digital camera technologies.
- Kenneth M. Ford, cofounder and CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, in Pensacola and Ocala, for his pioneering work in artificial intelligence and human-centered computing, and for significant contributions to the U.S. and Florida technology and research communities. Ford holds two U.S. patents.
- Phillip Frost, physician, inventor, internationally-lauded businessman, and current CEO and chairman of OPKO Health in Miami, who invented a revolutionary disposable punch biopsy tool, as well as various therapeutic methods for treating rhinitis, cell disease, and diabetes. Frost holds nine U.S. patents.
- Richard D. Gitlin, State of Florida 21st Century World Class Scholar and Distinguished University Professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, for his innovative research and development in digital communications, broadband networking, and wireless systems that transformed communication technology. Gitlin holds 60 U.S. patents.
- Thomas H. Maren, (1918-1999), physician, Graduate Research Professor at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, and charter member of the UF College of Medicine faculty, where he chaired the Department of Pharmacology for 22 years. Maren’s research led to the invention and commercialization of Trusopt®, the first topical treatment for glaucoma. He is a named inventor on two U.S. patents.
- T. Dwayne and Mary Helen McCay, the first scientist couple nominated to the Hall of Fame, jointly hold 15 U.S. patents in the area of metallurgical engineering specific to laser-induced surface improvement, which have greatly contributed to increased patient safety and improved medical outcomes in facilities nationwide. Dwayne McCay is president and CEO of the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in Melbourne, and Mary Helen McCay is a native Floridian, Florida State University and UF alumnus, former NASA payload specialist astronaut, and former director of the National Center for Hydrogen Research at FIT.
More information is available at www.FloridaInvents.org.
-Photo by Ryan Wakefield, USF College of Engineering