Three Women, Three Pioneers of Innovative Inventions
As the years go on, more and more women are entering the patent system and acquiring patents for their inventions. The report by the USPTO for 2020 on U.S. women inventor patentees shows that the women entering the patent system has increased from 5% in 1980 to 17.3% in 2019. There is also an increase in the women who remain active and obtain multiple patents after they acquire their first patent. The gender gap for women inventors who remain active in the patent system is decreasing. Many women are responsible for leading the way on innovative inventions that changed our way of life. Three women who are pioneers in their field are Marian Croak, Ellen Ochoa, and Stephanie Kwolek.
A pioneer in the telecommunications field is Marian Croak. She is an engineer who advanced the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies. Marian Croak started her career at AT&T where she began to construct the idea of communication through digital telecommunications instead of using a traditional phone line. With her team, they made a technology that converts voice data into digital signals that is transmitted over the internet. Currently, this technology allows for remote work calls and video conferencing. Marian Croak and her team also created a text to donate system for charitable organizations to allow people to send money easily through the phone. For example, her technology allowed $43 million in donations to be raised after the earthquake in Haiti. She currently has more than 200 patents to her name.
A pioneer in the imagery and space field is Ellen Ochoa. She was the first Hispanic American woman to travel in space. Her specialty is optical systems and developed three patents that use optical systems for information processing. The three patents were an optical inspection system, an optical object recognition method, and method for removing noise from images. Her optical object recognition method allows the recognition of a particular subject in a field of view. Through the different filters, the output determines whether the particular subject is actually present in the field of view. This invention is extremely useful in both Space and Earth.
A pioneer in the materials field is Stephanie Kwolek. She is a chemist who specializes in synthetic fibers. She discovered that large numbers of polyamide molecules line up parallel to form a liquid crystalline solution if they are put under certain conditions. The polymer material that she discovered is called poly-paraphenylene terephtalamide. The generic name that is known under is Kevlar. The uses for Kevlar ranges from bicycle tires to bulletproof vests. Kevlar is also a heat resistant fiber so clothing for firefighters is made with this material. Stephanie Kwolek’s discovery can now be found in multiple fields and products.
The innovations by these three women in their fields have enhanced the way we live our lives today. They have laid the groundwork for young innovators to continue advancing the field of science.