by Diann Daniel

2007 Young Innovators: Technology Innovation that Defines Geek Chic

Oct 03, 20072 mins

Sometimes you need to take a moment to marvel at just how amazing technology can be.

MIT’s Technology Review did just that. Each year since 1999 they have selected noteworthy innovators under 35 whose work inspires. And what a group!

Eighteen innovators were chosen, all worth reading about. Here’s a few highlights:

  • Sanjit Biswas created wireless mesh networks that could be used to cheaply connect to the Internet. His networks (through the company he cofounded, Meraki Networks) are already in 25 countries and boast 15,000 users.
  • Tapan Parikh has created information systems for small businesspeople in the developing world that use the mobile phone, rather than the PC, as the systems’ core.
  • Lili Yang is engineering the immune system to spot and kill cancer cells.
  • Rachel Segalman is modifying certain molecules to generate electricity from heat to ultimately, for example, harvest heat in computers to extend laptop battery life.
  • Desney Tan is researching how to enable us to control computers with our minds.
  • Jeff LaPorte has found a way to enable Internet calls from a typical mobile phone.
  • And Abraham Stroock used an everyday sight—a tree—to inspire his microfluidic biomaterials.

Web 2.0 was also rewarded, with Garrett Camp (StumbleUpon), Tariq Krim (Netvibes) and Kevin Rose (Digg) included in the list.

Innovator of the Year went to David Berry who engineered microbes to create renewable petroleum.

Maybe it’s just me, but what I think these noteworthy innovators and their innovations highlight is how the easy-to-take-for-granted cell phones, computers, X-rays and other technologies that are a part of our life are no less amazing when you stop to notice.