Four Women Inventors to Watch in 2017

July 27, 2017

Despite a movement to weaken the U.S. patent system in recent years, our country still produces some of most innovative people in the world. Women inventors, in particular, are making their presence known in America, even though 93% of patents are granted to men.

In this blog post, we’re featuring four women inventors you should watch out for in 2017. Read on for inspiration, motivation, and proof that patents matter.

Janet Emerson Bashen, Inventor of LinkLine, U.S. Patent: 6985922 B1

Janet Emerson Bashen holds the distinguished honor of being the first African American woman to hold a software patent. Her invention, LinkLine, is used to process Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) investigations online. Bashen told Black Enterprise1 that she came up with the idea while working for an insurance carrier investigating EEO issues. She had seen how paper-based systems were prone to error and knew there had to be a better way. A series of serendipitous events then led to the creation of Bashen Corp., which now handles EEO investigations and sells the LinkLine software.2

Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, LuminAID Solar Light, U.S. Patent: 9347629 B2

After an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, then students at Columbia University’s School of Architecture, were given an assignment to find a way to help disaster relief efforts3. After some research, they found that a reliable source of light was always in need among both disaster relief workers and those struck by tragedy. So the pair developed a solar-powered light that could be packed flat and provide illumination for 16 hours on a 6-hour charge. Known as LuminAID, the invention has received wide-spread support, winning various grants for innovation and hitting 500% of its IndieGoGo goal. The invention has since been adopted by many outdoor enthusiasts as a must-have item in their packs. Expect to see more of the LuminAID Solar Light in 2017.

Jessica Matthews, Uncharted Play and M.O.R.E., U.S. Patent: Various

Jessica O. Matthews was visiting Nigeria for her aunt’s wedding when the power went out. The backup option at the time was a diesel generator that produced noxious exhaust fumes. That exhaust bothered Matthews both physically and mentally. She knew that there must be a way to generate cleaner energy for those with unreliable sources of power. Matthews took inspiration from Nigeria’s love of soccer (65% of Nigerians play the sport4) to create the Soccket, a soccer ball that harnessed the kinetic energy generated during play and stored it internally for later use. Matthews company, Uncharted Play, has since created a jump rope using the same technology and is exploring options for partnering with other companies in the near future through offshoot, MORE.5

Want to learn more about the patent gender gap? Visit our recommended reading roundup .

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