An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Nearly a Dozen from MIT Named Top Young Innovators

  • Jay London

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MIT Technology Review announced its annual list of the top 35 innovators under the age of 35—on August 23 and more than one-third of the honorees have a connection to MIT. The 2016 group features at least eight MIT alumni and five current and former faculty and researchers.

According to Tech Review, the list honors young innovators, disrupters, and dreamers who are pursuing medical breakthroughs, refashioning energy technologies, making computers more useful, and engineering cooler electronic devices. The 2016 list is split into five categories: Entrepreneurs, Inventors, Humanitarians, Pioneers, and Visionaries.

View the list of MIT-connected honorees below then visit the Top Innovators Under 35 section of Tech Review for more details on this year’s group.

MIT Alumni

Muyinatu Lediju Bell ’06 (Inventor) Johns Hopkins University

“Bell is working to improve another type of noninvasive medical imaging technique. Called photoacoustic imaging, it uses a combination of light and sound to produce images of tissues in the body.”

Adam Bry ’12 (Inventor) Skydio

“We’re building a drone for consumers that understands the physical world, reacts to you intelligently, and can use that information to make decisions,” Bry says.

Ying Diao SM ’10, PhD ’12 (Pioneer) University of Illinois

“Ying Diao is creating printing techniques that bring order to the otherwise chaotic assembly of plastic molecules. She has made organic solar cells with double the efficiency of previous ones.”

Jonathan Downey ’06 (Visionary) Airware

“The creator of control software for drones has foreseen the advantages of autonomous aircraft for years…In 2015, Airware launches several products intended to help big companies use drones.”

Ehsan Hoque PhD ’13 (Humanitarian) University of Rochester

“Can computers teach us to be our best selves? Ehsan Hoque believes so. He has created two computer systems that train people to excel in social settings.”

Maithilee Kunda ’06 (Visionary) Vanderbilt University

“What if you had an AI system that used data made up entirely of images and reasoned only using visual operations, like rotating images around or combining images together?” Kunda asks.

Stephanie Lampkin MBA ’13 (Entrepreneur) Blendoor

“Lampkin coded Blendoor, a job-search platform that hides the candidates’ names and photos during the initial stages of the process. So far more than 5,000 people have signed up.”

Jean Yang SM ’10, PhD ’15 (Visionary) Carnegie Mellon University

“Yang created Jeeves, a programming language with privacy baked in. With Jeeves, developers don’t have to scrub personal information from their features…Yang’s code does it automatically.”

Faculty and Researchers

Nora Ayanian (Visionary; former post-doc) University of Southern California

“Ayanian studies robot coördination by studying people. One way is by having groups of humans play a simple video game that limits their senses and stifles communication.”

Dinesh Baradia (Inventor; current post-doc) MIT CSAIL

“Dinesh Bharadia invented a telecommunications technology that...found a way to simultaneously transmit and receive data on the same frequency.”

Assistant Professor Kevin Esvelt (Visionary) MIT Media Lab

“Esvelt’s Take: No gene drive able to spread globally should be released. Or even tested. Scientists need to disclose their plans. His Solution: He’s designed safer gene drives that can be controlled.”

Desmond Loke (Inventor; former post-doc) Singapore University of Technology Design

“The Singapore researcher has now created a version of phase-change memory that is as fast as RAM chips and packs in many times more storage capacity than flash drives.”

Sonia Vallabh Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

“(Sonia) learned she has a genetic mutation that causes a deadly brain disease. She and her husband have published research showing a possible pathway to a treatment.”

Did we leave any MIT alumni off our list? And are there any alumni who deserve consideration for 2016? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Read Slice of MIT’s past coverage of MIT alumni in the Top Innovators Under 35 list from 20152014,20132012, and 2010.

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