Widely recognized as the “Oscars of Innovation”, the R&D 100 Awards identify and celebrate the top technology products of the year. Past winners have included sophisticated testing equipment, innovative new materials, chemistry breakthroughs, biomedical products, consumer items, and high-energy physics. The R&D 100 Awards spans industry, academia, and government-sponsored research.
The R&D 100 Awards haven’t always been known by that name, however. Established in 1963, they were originally the I-R 100s, in keeping with the original name of the magazine, Industrial Research. In that first year, the winners were picked by a panel of outside judges selected by the publisher and editor. No entries were required, and only U.S. companies could win. A formal entry procedure was established in 1964 and final judging was made by the magazine's editors (with the advice of outside experts). The first non-U.S. winners came along in 1965.
Since 1963, the R&D 100 Awards have identified revolutionary technologies newly introduced to the market. Many of these have become household names, helping shape everyday life for many Americans. These include the flashcube (1965), the automated teller machine (1973), the halogen lamp (1974), the fax machine (1975), the liquid crystal display (1980), the Kodak Photo CD (1991), the Nicoderm anti-smoking patch (1992), Taxol anticancer drug (1993), lab on a chip (1996), and HDTV (1998). More recent breakthroughs that have earned R&D 100 Awards include next-generation magnetic resonance imaging machines, laser-based metal-forming tools, and the building blocks for fusion experiments.