DOE-Funded Researchers Honored by R&D Magazine: Leader of DOE Artificial Retina Project Named "Innovator of the Year"

Scientists and Engineers at 12 DOE Labs Win 29 R&D 100 Awards for 2005

Leader of the DOE Artificial Retina Project Named
"Innovator of the Year;" Scientists and Engineers
at 12 DOE Labs Win 29 R&D 100 Awards for 2005

October 20, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC –Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman today congratulated the leader of the Department of Energy’s Artificial Retina Project, who has been honored as R&D Magazine’s “Innovator of the Year.” Secretary Bodman also congratulated the researchers at DOE national laboratories who won 29 of the 100 awards given this year by the magazine for the most outstanding technology developments with commercial potential.

R&D Magazine will present the awards tonight at its 43rd annual R&D 100 Awards ceremony in Chicago.

“These awards demonstrate that DOE-funded researchers are hard at work developing the technologies of the future,” Secretary Bodman said. “The Department of Energy is proud that these researchers are making important contributions to innovation for our energy, economic and national security.”

The R&D 100 Awards recognize the most promising new products, processes, materials, or software developed throughout the world and introduced to the market. The award-winning technologies and products were selected by the editors of R&D Magazine and a panel of outside experts. Widely recognized in industry, government, and academia as a mark of excellence for the most innovative ideas of the year, the R&D 100 Awards are the only industry-wide competition rewarding practical applications of science.

The DOE-funded researchers winning the 29 prestigious 2005 R&D 100 Awards work in 12 DOE national laboratories across the country.

R&D Magazine has named Dr. Mark Humayun as its 2005 Innovator of the Year for his groundbreaking work on retinal implants and in recognition for his lifelong quest to help the blind to see. Dr. Humayun is a professor of opthamology and biomedical engineering at the Keck School of Medicine and associate director of research at the Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California. He is the leader of the DOE Artificial Retina Project.

R&D Magazine’s Innovator of the Year award is an international award that honors one individual who has demonstrated excellence and creativity in the design, development, and introduction into the marketplace of one or more technologically significant products over the past five years.

For the past 17 years, Dr. Humayun has pioneered new ways of helping the blind to see by melding high-tech materials and technology with advanced surgical methods to restore sight to those who until now had no hope of ever seeing again.

As the lead researcher of the DOE Artificial Retina Project, Dr. Humayun is spearheading a DOE Office of Science-sponsored initiative engaging DOE national laboratories, universities and the private sector to research and develop an artificial retina that can restore sight in blind patients with macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and other eye diseases. The research is being conducted at the Doheny Eye Institute, in collaboration with North Carolina State University, University of California – Santa Cruz, Second Sight LLC and six DOE national labs – Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Sandia.

The technology that is being developed in the DOE Artificial Retina Project may be applied not only to the treatment of blindness but in the general field of neural prostheses. It may be adapted to help persons with spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, deafness and almost any other neurological disorder.

The complete list of 2005 R&D 100 Awards appears in the September 2005 issue of R&D Magazine and a profile of Dr. Humayun appears in the August issue at http://www.rdmag.com/External link.

Since the R&D Magazine annual competition began in 1962, DOE and its national labs have won 698 R&D 100 Awards. Information about them is available at http://www.science.doe.gov/.

A list of the winning technologies and the DOE national laboratories associated with each award follows. Links to the laboratories’ news releases about their 2005 R&D 100 Awards also are provided.

Department of Energy-Funded 2005 R&D 100 Award Winners
Ames Laboratory (Ames, Iowa)

  • A new thermal barrier coating that significantly improves reliability and durability of gas turbine engine blades. With the thermal barrier coating applied to turbine blades, the combustion temperature of the engine can be increased, which leads to significantly improved efficiency and extended engine life. The coating will enhance the capabilities of the next generation of jet engines. Jointly with Iowa State University.

http://www.external.ameslab.gov/final/News/2005rel/R&D100.htmExternal link

Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne, Ill.)

  • The bion microstimulator, a miniature, self-contained, rechargeable implantable neurostimulator that may benefit the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from debilitating conditions by stimulating viable nerves and muscles to prevent muscles from deteriorating and to help restore nerve and muscle function. The device is designed to treat a wide variety of diseases, including incontinence, chronic headaches, peripheral pain, angina and epilepsy. Jointly with Advanced Bionics Corporation and the Alfred Mann Foundation, both of Valencia, Calif., Quallion LLC of Sylmar, Calif. and the Organosilicon Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  • Software that enables scientists to write parallel programs that run efficiently on all major computer systems, from parallel processors to laptops. Applications include materials science, combustion simulation, astrophysics, climate modeling and bioinformatics.
  • Multilayer lens wafers for X-ray lenses, providing the ability to focus hard X-rays well below 100 nanometers with high efficiency. This linear Fresnel lens may be used to develop smaller, better-performing and more reliable computers and telecommunications equipment; to produce lighter, sturdier, safer transportation vehicles through advanced materials with tailored properties; to detect flaws or strains in materials for storage, machining and aviation; and to image cell division and tumor growth, providing a new mechanism for the early detection of cancer.
  • A compact oxygen sensor to monitor in real time combustion processes in coal-fire power plants, petrochemical plants, blast furnaces, glass processing equipment, and inside internal combustion engines. The new sensor provides industry an inexpensive means of monitoring boiler efficiencies to achieve the highest possible energy savings. Jointly with Ohio State University, Columbus

http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/News/2005/RD100_050708.htmlExternal link

Brookhaven National Laboratory (Upton, N.Y.)

  • An X-ray and gamma-ray detector that is less bulky and expensive and more flexible and efficient than current products. The detector can be used for homeland security applications, nuclear medical imaging, environmental monitoring and cleanup, galactic events studies, and nuclear-weapons safeguards. Jointly with Kansas State University and Yinnel Tech Inc. of South Bend, Ind.

http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/pubaf/pr/PR_display.asp?prID=05-74External link

Idaho National Laboratory (Idaho Falls, Idaho)

  • The Hazmat Cam, a lightweight, wireless video camera system that allows emergency first responders to send real-time, high-quality images from terrorism, accident or disaster sites to video or computer monitors at remote command centers up to five miles away.

http://newsdesk.inel.gov/index.cfm?file=20050712aExternal link

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Newport News, Va.)

  • The Tunable Energy Recovered High Power Infrared Free-Electron Laser, or FEL, provides intense, powerful beams of laser light that can be tuned to a precise color or wavelength. The FEL can be controlled more precisely than conventional lasers to produce light in brief bursts with extreme precision, making possible applications in national security, materials science, photobiology, photochemistry and high sensitivity spectroscopy that were not economically feasible before.

http://www.jlab.org/news/releases/2005/RD100.htmlExternal link

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, Calif.)

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