Chris Rivest and SunPrint, a low-cost fabrication method for producing solar cells.
Today, MIT's Technology Review magazine reveals their 2010 list of the world's top innovators under the age of 35. They were chosen because their work—spanning medicine, computing, communications, nanotechnology, and more— was chosen for the immense change they are affecting in the world.
Chris Rivest, 28, was chosen for SunPrint, a technology that lowers the cost of solar cell production from $2 per watt to under $.50 per watt, absolutely necessary if solar power will ever fully displace coal and natural gas. The process, originally developed by Xerox for ink-jets, is called acoustic printing— a sound wave is focused onto a pool of ink, which causes droplets to spatter onto the surface of the print media. This (mystical) process is extremely precise, which reduces the need for expensive tools and materials or further processing. Read more.
The 2010 Humanitarian of the Year, David Kobia, age 32, has written web software that helps communities communicate in disaster situations, using crowdsourcing as a means of gathering firsthand information and reports, where traditional news media would not be comprehensive and fast. The project, entitled Ushahidi, was born out of the riots that followed Kenya's 2007 presidential election, and gives users a way to "share information and shape political opinion, guide rescuers, or pool resources." Since it's initiation, the program has been used to monitor Sudanese elections, document violence in Gaza, track the BP oil spill and assist with Haiti earthquake relief. Read more about his work here.
Danah Boyd, a 32-year-old a social network ethnographer, was honored for asking tough questions about social media—about privacy or race, for instance—and pursuing the answer. She helps industry greats like Google write their social media policies, hoping to eventually guide the industry and its regulators to a set of mutually acceptable rules, ensuring that people can control what happens to their personal data after it has been shared. Read more or watch TR's short video spot on Danah here.
For more of our top, young innovators, visit the full list.