Sutherland Named to National Inventors Hall of Fame

Byron SpiceWednesday, February 24, 2016

Ivan Sutherland pilots the Trojan Cockroach walking robot at CMU in the 1980s. Sutherland will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in May.

Alumnus Ivan Sutherland, known as the father of computer graphics, will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 5, during a black-tie ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Sutherland, who earned his bachelor's degree in science at Carnegie Tech in 1959, will be among 16 new inductees into the hall, which was founded in 1973 and is located on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office campus in Alexandria, Va.

In 1963, Sutherland created the interactive program Sketchpad that enabled users to draw in real-time on a computer display using a light pen. It was the forerunner of today's graphical user interfaces used in a wide variety of devices. In 1967, while teaching at Harvard University, he and a student devised the first virtual reality head-mounted display system.

He was awarded the prestigious A.M. Turing Award in 1988 for his pioneering work on computer graphics.

Sutherland and one of his mechanical creations, the six-legged walking robot known as the Trojan Cockroach, are the subjects of an exhibit by Daniel Pillis, a graduate student in the College of Fine Arts, that is open weekday afternoons in CMU's Posner Center. Sutherland built the computer-controlled walking machine at CMU in the early 1980s.

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