Kurzweil awarded MIT’s Lemelson Prize for Invention and Innovation

April 25, 2001 | Source: KurzweilAI

Futurist Ray Kurzweil was awarded MIT’s annual $500,000 Lemelson Prize for Invention and Innovation today at a ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Kurzweil was recognized for “the breadth and scope of his inventive work and for his commitment to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities through technology,” according to a statement by the Lemelson-MIT Program.

Kurzweil is credited with many invention “firsts” that span such diverse fields as pattern recognition, speech technology, music and the visual arts. These include the first omni-font optical character recognition (OCR) computer program; the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind; the first text-to-speech synthesizer; the first electronic musical instrument capable of reproducing the sounds of orchestral instruments; and the first commercially-marketed large vocabulary speech-recognition system. Kurzweil’s latest innovation, a virtual recording and performing artist called “Ramona,” represents an advance in virtual reality technology.