Tech Researchers Recognized as Top Young Innovators

Technology Review magazine has recognized two Georgia Tech researchers, Karen Liu and Xudong Wang, among the world's top innovators under the age of 35. Selected from more than 300 nominees by a panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review, the TR35 is an elite group of accomplished young innovators who exemplify the spirit of innovation in business, technology and the arts.

Liu's research is in simulating the complex phenomenon of natural human movement by applying optimization and machine learning algorithms. Her work aims to expand computer-generated character animation from a visualization tool to an interdisciplinary research area focused on autonomous control and realistic human motion.

"Dr. Liu's highly regarded work simulating human movement will be key to Georgia Tech's contributions to the field of digital entertainment," said Aaron Bobick, chair of the School of Interactive Computing at Tech. "She has just started her career here after moving from the University of Southern California, and we couldn't be more pleased that she is already making such an impact."

Wang is a research scientist working in Zhong Lin Wang's group at the School of Materials Science and Engineering. His research focuses on self-assembling aligned piezoelectric nanowires and developing their novel applications. He received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech in 2005.

In 2004, Wang developed an effective and low-cost method for growing large-area patterned, and vertically aligned ZnO nanowires, which can be directly applied for nanodevices integration. Recently, based on these vertical aligned ZnO nanowires, Wang and his co-workers developed a piezoelectric nanogenerator that converts ambient wave/vibration energy into electricity. This is a new concept for scavenging mechanical energy from the ambient environment, such as vibration, air/liquid flow and pressure fluctuation. Development of such nanogenerators sets the foundation for eliminating batteries to realize self-powered electronic devices from integrated nanosystems to implantable biomedical devices to portable electronic devices.

"This is a major step toward a portable, adaptable and cost-effective technology for powering in-vivo nanosensors, MEMS and wireless nanosensors," said Professor Zhong Lin (Z.L.) Wang. "Xudong has been very creative in developing this prototype and demonstrating its potential applications, which is the most remarkable advance in my group's research in the last few years. He is very deserving of this honor."

Liu, Wang and the other TR35 winners for 2007 will be featured in the September issue of Technology Review magazine and honored at the Emerging Technologies Conference, to be held at MIT September 25-27.

"The TR35 honors young innovators for accomplishments that are poised to have a dramatic impact on the world as we know it," said Jason Pontin, editor-in-chief and publisher of Technology Review magazine. "We celebrate their success and look forward to their continued advancement of technology in their respective fields."