The November 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

More Than Machines

Black inventors deserve better than just a list of their inventions

3 min read

Every February, which is Black History Month in the United States, the IEEE History Center is approached by journalists, educators, and others for the names and inventions of African-American engineers. As he explains in Black Inventors in the Age of Segregation, Rayvon Fouché, a scholar of African-American cultural and intellectual history, is no stranger to this phenomenon.

The problem confronting the scholar asked to provide examples of black inventiveness is twofold. Blacks are clearly underrepresented in narratives of American technological history, in part because of the biases of earlier historians. But another reason is that there are few black inventors in the field of engineering--or many other professional roles--because of the cultural, social, political, and economic constraints placed upon them.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Vertical
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}