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Black women inventors featured in USPTO Black History month celebration

February 04, 2021

In honor of Black History month, the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) is hosting a free virtual celebration spotlighting the contributions of three contemporary Black women inventors. As a departure from past events that have paid homage to historic Black inventors, this years’ celebration will include firsthand accounts of the panelists’ current careers and inventions. The panel will include Dr. Aprille Ericsson, Dr. Ayanna Howard, and Dr. Arlyne Simon.

Dr. Ericsson is the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University. In her current role at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), she works to develop government partnerships that bring together industry, small businesses, and universities to compete for opportunities to solve strategic R&D challenges faced by government agencies in the U.S. She is also the program manager for the GSFC Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

As an educator, researcher, and innovator, Dr. Howard has made contributions in the areas of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics. She is a leader in novel technology research and has over 20 years of R&D experience supporting projects for a number of different companies, agencies, and organizations. She is also the founder and chief technology officer of Zyrobotics, a company that uses machine learning and robots to make educational toys for kids, with a focus on assisting those with special needs.

Dr. Simon, a biomedical engineer at Intel’s Health and Life Science business unit, has invented a blood test that detects when cancer patients reject a bone marrow transplant. She also works as an entrepreneur. A previous venture, a start-up called PHASIQ, won a National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR Phase I & II funding award.

To further celebrate Black History month, the USPTO has added a new exhibit at its National Inventors Hall of Fame featuring Marshall Jones and Joseph Lee. Visitors to the exhibit can engage with the inventors’ stories and personal triumphs throughout February either in-person or virtually.

Interested attendees to the virtual celebration on Feb. 10 can register here.