2001 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize Winner
A concert pianist, architect and inventor since age eight, Brian
Hubert has a track record of accomplishments in diverse fields.
Hubert, who has been called a modern day Renaissance man, was awarded
the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize in 2001 for the breadth and
variety of his innovations—most notably the world's first
While working on his doctoral thesis, Hubert created a universal
"pick-and-place" nano-assembly machine, capable of picking
up and assembling thousands of atoms of almost any material at one
time. His device could potentially be used for moving and patterning
segments of DNA strands, ultimately enabling doctors to discover
genetic-related diseases in a matter of minutes—long before
the patient showed any symptoms.
In 2000, Hubert received a patent for his plastic memory chip.
Composed of aluminized plastic, it is mechanically flexible and
cheaper to produce than a silicon chip, but still capable of storing
digital information, even when the power is off. The design is ideal
for smart cards, digital cameras and portable computational devices.
Hubert was also granted a patent for a superconductor fabrication
system in 1998. This low cost system consists of two moving parts
and increases the efficiency of manufacturing superconductor wires,
as it is able to operate unattended for a long duration.
Hubert's other inventions include the dynaplanar volumetric display
system—which projects 3-D video images; a hip-joint replacement
implant—creates a flexible femoral implant stem; atlas wallboard
installation machine—lifts and positions wallboard onto ceilings
and walls; audio pre-amplifier—enhances signal purity; stock
analysis software—recognizes investment opportunities via
possible combinations; and the tunneling accelerometer chip—which
precisely measures the magnitude of acceleration.
One of Hubert's earliest inventions is the "Cheater Meter,"
created at age fourteen to measure the actual amount and grade of
gas pumped at gas stations. This pocket-sized device compares the
measurements to the fee charged to ensure the prices are accurate,
or that one isn't being cheated at the pump!
In addition to his engineering feats, this Yakima, WA native has
many other talents. Hubert is a concert pianist, violinist and music
composer. Also skilled in architectural design, he has received
several awards in championship drafting competitions. Hubert received
his B.S., M.S. (1996) and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MIT.
After graduating from MIT, Hubert co-founded Kovio Inc. in Sunnyvale,
Calif., a nano-technology company developing revolutionary technologies
for manufacturing microelectronics, where he serves as CTO.