National Academy of Inventors Charts Diverse Future ~ Prodigy Press Wire

National Academy of Inventors Charts Diverse Future ~ Prodigy Press Wire



From left to right: Almesha Campbell, Suzanne Harrison, and Sylvia Thomas speaking at NAI’s 2022 conference.

Today’s elevators bear the name of its inventor, Elisha Otis. But little people know the man who created a patent that made elevators safer. African-American inventor Alexander Miles‘ daughter suffered serious injuries when the shaft and elevator doors were not properly closed on one occasion. This common error led to many deaths in the mid 1850s. So he created a mechanism that automatically allowed the doors and shaft to be closed, reducing the likelihood of such an accident again. His patent, issued in 1887, saved hundreds of thousands of lives, yet his contribution has virtually been forgotten.

How many more people from diverse backgrounds would join the fields of science and technology if the space were truly an inclusive community? One organization is working to make this happen. The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) highlights diverse minds who have been in the field all along and encourages the development of new academic inventors from underrepresented groups.

With this mission in mind, NAI brings together the world’s leading minds for its annual conference. This year’s gathering was held in Phoenix, Arizona this past June. A key topic of discussion was increasing diversity and closing the equity gap in the field of science and technology.

The National Academy of Inventors Addresses Inequity in the Patent Process

A significant barrier to creating diversity in the field of invention lies in the very process of applying for patents. Protecting intellectual property can prove daunting to people who lack resources and support.

The NAI has joined with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to address the systemic and cultural challenges minority groups encounter during the patent process. Their joint mission is to increase diversity and inclusion. This five-year partnership is designed to help underrepresented groups better…


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