Commercialization of acoustic modems to allow mass adoption

The 75 Years of Innovation series highlights the groundbreaking innovations spanning from SRI’s founding in 1946 to today. Each week, SRI will release an innovation, leading up to its 75th anniversary in November 2021.

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The stirring sound of the modulator/demodulator: SRI International and the commercialization of the acoustic modem

Combine the first few letters of the words “modulator” and “demodulator,” and you get “modem.” Modems are as much a part of modern life as the telephone that gave birth to them and are an essential part of the “kit of the internet,” opening the door to connectivity by acting as a data translator.

SRI International often transforms existing technologies, making them commercially viable. This was…


SRI senior research engineer is leading exciting advancements in space robotics

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There’s no telling where great minds source their inspiration. Sometimes, it’s from unexpected places — like cartoons.

Just ask Samson Phan. The initial sparks that fueled his passion for robotics and space exploration occurred in childhood.

“Where does the interest come from? Probably from growing up watching way too many cartoons with robot technology in them, like Voltron,” Phan says with a good-natured laugh, referring to the animated series that featured space explorers piloting a giant super robot.

These cartoons helped set Phan on the path to what he is today: a pioneering scientist in the fields of astronautics and…


The ability to verify handwritten signatures in real-time

The 75 Years of Innovation series highlights the groundbreaking innovations spanning from SRI’s founding in 1946 to today. Each week, SRI will release an innovation, leading up to its 75th anniversary in November 2021.

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The stroke of a pen and a verifiable signature

There have been many paths leading to our current digital society. One of these paths has been the long and winding road to transforming handwriting into something a computer can read. Developing the human-computer interface is nothing new to SRI International; after all, SRI experts such as Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse.

In the 1960s, SRI worked on solving another outstanding issue — making handwriting…


A system to provide automated handling of personal checking accounts

The 75 Years of Innovation series highlights the groundbreaking innovations spanning from SRI’s founding in 1946 to today. Each week, SRI will release an innovation, leading up to its 75th anniversary in November 2021.

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A banking baby boomer: How SRI helped the Bank of America to become the first automated bank

Banking has come a long way since the first bank in Assyria, 2000 years ago. Throughout the last two millennia, banking has continually evolved, especially over the last century. Technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) have changed how modern banking works, and early automation technologies laid the groundwork for the seamless digital banking of the 21st century. …


The deft execution of this three-pronged business model is at the foundation of the nonprofit’s world-changing technological advancements

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SRI International has been behind an enormous array of inventions and discoveries over 75 years, pioneering life-changing advancements in everything from computer science to healthcare. The successful execution and delivery of consistent, reproducible, high-quality ideas and innovations require special attention to the research process. A bedrock of that approach has been SRI’s unique business model of Invent, Apply, Transition.

This model derives from and expands on a concept known as Pasteur’s quadrant and encapsulates the process of moving from pure research to real-life applications of science and technology.

Pasteur’s quadrant

The practical application of science gives us modern privileges such as medicine…


The second NTSC standard, chosen in 1953, was still used until 2000 — chosen for its compatibility with existing B&W sets

The 75 Years of Innovation series highlights the groundbreaking innovations spanning from SRI’s founding in 1946 to today. Each week, SRI will release an innovation, leading up to its 75th anniversary in November 2021.

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Over the rainbow: How SRI International brought color into our lives

[Color TV] adds a new dimension to the entertainment arts, adds realism to journalism, and intensifies television as a social and educational medium” — General David Sarnoff, Chairman of RCA Laboratories, on the release of RCA’s color television system in 1953.


SRI scientist explores how to tame and leverage the human immune system to prevent allergies and fight disease

Author: Mary Premenko-Lanier, SRI International

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Four years ago, as I paced the halls of a Peruvian hospital and anxiously awaited updates about my 13-year-old son’s food allergy-related health crisis, my immunology training kicked in. I mentally traced the steps of the out-of-control immune response that had brought him to this point, and what needed to happen to bring his body back to normal.

We were lucky. My son survived. But for so many frantic parents, this situation ends in tragedy.

I have long believed that in order to create something that will have a real impact, you have to be…


A plastic that overtook Kevlar in the 1980s as the world’s strongest polymer

The 75 Years of Innovation series highlights the groundbreaking innovations spanning from SRI’s founding in 1946 to today. Each week, SRI will release an innovation, leading up to its 75th anniversary in November 2021.

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Strong stuff: How SRI International gave the world the strongest plastic

In chemistry classrooms worldwide, teachers demonstrate chemical reactions to make their lectures more engaging and exciting. One demonstration that never ceases to amaze students is the reaction that creates polymers. Two chemical solutions — adipoyl chloride and hexamethylenediamine — are combined in a beaker. A reaction occurs. The teacher inserts a glass rod into the mixture and pulls out a long string of plastic, specifically Nylon…


The director of SRI International’s Robotics Laboratory has built a career filled with breakthroughs and world-firsts

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Thomas Low, director of SRI International’s world-renowned Robotics Laboratory, has been spearheading advancements in automation, machine learning and related fields for more than 35 years, but he still approaches his work with the energy and enthusiasm of an eager scientist just starting out.

Low doesn’t even think of it as work. For him, it’s a passion.

“This is what I do for fun,” Low says.

This passion that powers him has been essential to his long and successful career. He has been a driving force behind incredible advancements in robotics and holds 47 U.S. patents. …


How SRI opened the world’s eyes to the power of eye-tracking

The 75 Years of Innovation series highlights the groundbreaking innovations spanning from SRI’s founding in 1946 to today. Each week, SRI will release an innovation, leading up to its 75th anniversary in November 2021.

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If you stare deeply into someone’s eyes, you won’t see an unmoving object. Instead, the eyelid flickers, the pupil gets larger or smaller in response to light changes, and the eyeball moves as it focuses and tracks your gaze. Eyes are continually moving. These movements are both voluntary and involuntary and offer data that can be used in medicine, biometrics and even web design. Beginning in…

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