Ramesh Raskar receives $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize

Using technology to transform cameras and the ways in which we see the world.


Ramesh Raskar, founder of the Camera Culture research group at the MIT Media Lab and associate professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, is the recipient of the 2016 $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize.

Raskar is the co-inventor of radical imaging solutions including Femto-photography, an ultra-fast imaging camera that can see around corners, low-cost eye-care solutions for the developing world, and a camera that allows users to read pages of a book without opening the cover. Raskar seeks to catalyze change on a massive scale by launching platforms that empower inventors to create solutions to improve lives globally.

Using advanced imaging for basic health in India

Raskar brings a unique lens to the Tata Center. He has dedicated his career to linking the best of the academic and entrepreneurial worlds with young engineers, igniting a passion for impact inventing. He is a pioneer in the fields of imaging, computer vision and machine learning and his novel imaging platforms offer an understanding of the world that far exceeds human ability.

Raskar has mentored more than 100 students, visiting students, interns and postdoctoral associates who, with his guidance and support, have been able to kick-start their own highly successful careers. He is currently working on two Tata Center projects that use imaging to detect common health issues.

One project aims to make basic eye exams accessible to rural and poor communities in India by developing a simple ocular imaging device. This device will aid in detecting diseases such as cataracts, corneal injury, and detached retina early on to avert vision loss. The other project focuses on oral cancer screening, which is currently performed by a visual inspection of the mouth and gums by an expert using bulky machines. Raskar and his team are developing non-invasive portable oral imaging technology to detect and quantify oral disease manifestations without specialized training.

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The Lemelson-MIT Prize

The Lemelson-MIT Prize honors outstanding mid-career inventors improving the world through technological invention and demonstrating a commitment to mentorship in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The prize is made possible through the support of The Lemelson Foundation, the world’s leading funder of invention in service of social and economic change. Over the next three years, Raskar will be investing a portion of the prize money to support the development of young inventors.

“We are thrilled to honor Ramesh Raskar, whose breakthrough research is impacting how we see the world,” said Dorothy Lemelson, chair of The Lemelson Foundation. “Ramesh’s Femto-photography work not only has the potential to transform industries ranging from internal medicine to transportation safety, it is also helping to inspire a new generation of inventors to tackle the biggest problems of our time.



Portions of this article are taken from an MIT News report.