Some inventions not only lead to products with an impact on the lives of people around the globe but also act as game changers in their respective technical fields. The Lifetime Achievement category honors the contributions of inventors whose life-long work and dedication have forever changed the face of innovation.
Laboratory on a chip, enabling immediate medical diagnosis in remote and impoverished areas
The ability to remotely track the output from the µTAS chip could revolutionise in-field monitoring, with research already underway for methods to monitor outbreaks
Analytic chemist and nanoscientist, developed the Micro Total Analysis Systems for simple diagnostics
An entire laboratory on a single microchip is no longer a dream, thanks to the work of Andreas Manz. While doctors once had to wait days or weeks for blood test results, the Swiss analytic chemist and nanoscientist has created a solution enabling immediate diagnosis. A room’s worth of chemistry equipment has now been condensed onto a microchip, known as “Micro Total Analysis Systems" (µTAS). It contains the mechanisms necessary for separating compounds into tiny segments and detecting their chemical makeup, as well as the control and measurement electronics needed for in-field analysis. Manz (58) conducted most of his µTAS research at Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis) and Imperial College London, and is now the head of the microfluids group at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology in Germany. The ability to remotely track the output from the µTAS chip could revolutionise in-field monitoring, with research already underway for methods to monitor outbreaks of malaria, dengue and localised toxins. The most exciting potential of Manz’ invention lies in the ability to bring cheaper lab tests to impoverished or remote areas, potentially saving the lives of millions of people.
A broad range of medicines based on natural compounds, spearheading a new generation of drugs
Kalvins’ research has resulted in new drugs to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s, tinnitus, chronic pain, inflammation, ischemic heart disease and strokes
Inventor dedicated to improving medicine through chemicals found in nature
Natural compounds sit at the core of Ivars Kalvins’ breakthrough medical inventions. They are all broadly based on the same principle: the potential for chemicals to trigger a desired response in the human body. The Latvian scientist has dedicated his research career to improving medicine through chemicals found in nature, and his work has spearheaded the development of a new generation of drug compounds. Kalvins’ research has resulted in new drugs to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s, tinnitus, chronic pain and inflammation. Particular advancement is seen in the treatment of ischemic heart disease and strokes, the two leading causes of death worldwide. While licensing many of his patents to international pharmaceutical giants, Kalvins’ biggest success story is the heart disease drug Mildronate, one of Latvia’s most successful medical exports. Kalvins first earned his chemistry degree at the University of Latvia, before he, intrigued by the potential of naturally occurring compounds, joined the Institute of Organic Synthesis in Riga. Today, Kalvins (67) has contributed to over 215 patents, as he has tirelessly worked to make numerous breakthroughs in immunochemistry.
Kornelis A. Schouhamer Immink
Coding methods for CD, DVD and Blu-ray, enabling a revolution in consumer electronics
The CD was revolutionary as the first high-quality digital medium. The DVD quickly became the industry standard for moving image
Technical engineer, developing new electronic formats for transmitting sound, image and data
Three key touchpoints for the digital revolution - the CD, the DVD and the Blu-ray - are the brainchildren of Kornelis A. Schouhamer Immink. Over the past 40 years, Immink has worked continuously to improve the coding technology for digital disks, finding new ways to create more storage space on these flat surfaces. But the Dutch technical engineer had to start from the very beginning, when he, along with his team at Philips, was asked in 1974 to develop a digital alternative to vinyl records. Immink came up with an ingenious coding system, called Eight-to-Fourteen Modulation. The CD, which peaked at 30 billion units sold in 2004, was revolutionary as the first high-quality digital medium. The DVD quickly became the industry standard for moving image, and is credited as being the fastest-adopted electronic consumer product. CD-ROM enabled what was then unprecedented access to encyclopaedias, maps, pictures and video. After 30 years at Philips, Immink (67) has continued his work at his own company, Turing Machines, and is named on more than 1000 patents worldwide.