At its fourth annual Invention of the Year ceremony, held recently, APL announced its top inventions for 2002 in the categories of life sciences, information sciences and physical sciences.
An independent, outside review panel selected the winners from 123 APL inventions, representing the work of 204 inventors, based on their potential benefit to society, improvement over existing technology and commercial potential.
The winner in life sciences was called Portable Malaria Screening and Diagnosis Method. Plamen Demirev and Andrew Feldman, of APL's Research and Technology Development Center, teamed with Darin Kongkasuriyachai, Nirbhay Kumar, Peter Scholl and David Sullivan, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, to develop an in vitro method of detecting very low levels of the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium in blood.
Software for Automated Medical Records Coding took top honors in information sciences. Carol Sniegoski, of APL's National Security Technology Department, has developed software to overcome the problem of how to quickly compile hospital emergency room initial complaint records--usually written in nonstandard text, with inconsistent spelling, vocabulary and grammar--so they can be used to monitor geographic regions for indications of chemical or biological weapons attack. Hospitals and public health officials see applications for use in other biosurveillance systems and in automating the standard processing of hospital records.
In the area of physical sciences, the judges selected an invention called Combined Chemical/Biological Agent Detection by Mass Spectrometry. Wayne Bryden and Scott Ecelberger, both of APL's Research and Technology Development Center, joined with Robert Cotter, of the School of Medicine, to develop technology that combines chemical and biological sample measurements in a single, time-of-flight mass spectrometer to dramatically reduce detection and identification times.
John Sommerer, head of APL's Research and Technology Development Center, and APL Director of Technology Transfer Wayne Swann presented plaques and cash awards to the winning teams.