Design Engineering

Kiva mobile robot creators to be inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame

By DE Staff   


2020 NIHF inductees also include inventors of the hard hat, ibuprofen and the sports bra.

Mick Mountz, Peter Wurman and Raffaello D’Andrea, inventors of Mobile Robotic Material Handling for Order Fulfillment, and 2020 inductees in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) announced the 22 inventors who will make up the 2020 class of inductees to be officially inducted to the NIHF in May. This year’s honored innovators, whose landmark inventions range from the hard hat to the sports bra, also includes Mick Mountz, Peter Wurman and Raffaello D’Andrea, creators of Mobile Robotic Material Handling for Order Fulfillment.

The trio’s Kiva system (now owned by Amazon) revolutionized warehouse order fulfillment system by using mobile robots and control software to bring inventory shelves to workers, dramatically improving all aspects of fulfillment operations, the NIHF committee said.

“My passion for science and creating led me to a career in engineering,” said 2020 Inductee Raffaello D’Andrea, a pioneer of mobile robotic material handling for order fulfillment, professor at ETH Zurich and founder of Verity. “It’s an honor to be recognized alongside Mick Mountz and Pete Wurman for our accomplishments at Kiva Systems.”

The NIHF class of 2020 also includes:


R. Rox Anderson: Laser Dermatology
Anderson has improved lives across the world with his invention of laser dermatology treatments and procedures that are now commonly used to remove birthmarks, scars and other skin lesions.

Sylvia Blankenship and Edward Sisler (Posthumous): 1-MCP for Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Freshness
Blankenship and Sisler invented 1-MCP, a compound that has become essential in preventing food waste, and increasing accessibility to fresh fruits, vegetables and cut flowers.

Dana Bookbinder, Ming-Jun Li and Pushkar Tandon: Bend-Insensitive Optical Fiber
Bookbinder, Li and Tandon invented the bend-insensitive ClearCurve optical fiber. Because it can bend without significant signal loss, ClearCurve optical fiber has reached locations previously inaccessible to optical fiber and advanced data transmission across an array of industries.

Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller and Polly Smith: Sports Bra
Lindahl, Miller and Smith invented the sports bra, a revolutionary garment that has enabled women’s participation in athletic activities and advanced women’s health and well-being.

James McEwen: Automatic Surgical Tourniquet
McEwen invented the first microprocessor-controlled automatic surgical tourniquet system, and his innovations ensure safer outcomes in nearly 20,000 surgeries across the world each day.

Margaret Wu: Synthetic Lubricants
Wu advanced the field of synthetic lubricants, and she has revolutionized the way both automotive and industrial lubricants are designed and synthesized.

James Abercrombie and Harry Cameron: Blowout Preventer (BOP); (Posthumous)
Abercrombie and Cameron invented the world’s first reliable blowout preventer (BOP) to successfully contain catastrophic blowouts from oil and natural gas wells. This mechanism allowed operators to close wells, control pressure during drilling operations, protect the environment and save lives.

Stewart Adams and John Nicholson: Ibuprofen (Posthumous)
Adams and Nicholson co-developed ibuprofen, which is used worldwide to safely and effectively treat pain, fever and inflammation related to conditions from headaches to arthritis

Evelyn Berezin: Computer Systems for Business Use (Posthumous)
An expert in logic design and data transmission, Berezin invented a computer reservations system for airlines and founded a company that developed the first computerized standalone word processor for business use.

Edward W. Bullard: Hard Hat (Posthumous)
Bullard invented the hard hat, the first commercially available industrial head protection device. Originally designed for miners, hard hats are now used by millions of people in an array of industries

Floyd Smith: Modern Parachute (Posthumous)
A trapeze artist turned aviator, Smith’s invention led to the creation of the parachute industry and provided safe landings across the world, saving countless lives.

Frank Zybach: Center-Pivot Irrigation (Posthumous)
Zybach’s center-pivot irrigation technology revolutionized agricultural production not only in America’s heartland but throughout the world.


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