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The 2024 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards were presented on February 6, 2024, at the TAMEST 2024 Annual Conference: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin, Texas.

Most Recent Technology Innovation Recipient

2024 O'Donnell Award Technology Innovation Kimberly Hambuchen
Kimberly A. Hambuchen, Ph.D., NASA Johnson Space Center, is the 2024 recipient of the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Technology Innovation.

She was chosen for her seminal research in developing new methods for making robots more autonomous and usable by humans across a time delay.

Dr. Hambuchen’s research focuses on human-robot systems. As she likes to put it, robots are great for “dull, dirty and dangerous jobs,” so the more humans can control them remotely, the better. The idea is: with a higher level of autonomy, robots are able to get more done.

Her key innovation is called the “affordance template.” It’s a coding of a robotic system’s ability to perform a function autonomously. In her approach, a remote human interacts with the robot as a “supervisor,” making sure that the robot is in a situation where it has the capability to perform a task. The supervisor helps guide the robot to complete certain tasks but does not control every aspect that they do. Dr. Hambuchen’s work expands on the technology exhibited in remote mining operations in the oil and gas industry and autonomous vehicles.

This technology could prove to be especially important for NASA’s space exploration, where there is a significant time delay between the “supervisor” on earth and the robot executing the task in space. On Mars, the time delay is anywhere between seven minutes and 42 minutes roundtrip, so robotics can act as a solution to that temporal problem. Dr. Hambuchen’s affordance template also affords robots the ability to perform many different tasks so that engineers would not have to create a specific robot for each system in outer space. Her work is not only relevant in space, as her innovations with robotics automation in time delay are being tested for deep-sea exploration as well.

Learn more about Dr. Hambuchen and her work >
Watch Dr. Hambuchen’s Award Acceptance >

Past Technology Innovation Recipients

Chengbo Li, ConocoPhillips | 2023
For his innovations in industry-leading Compressive Seismic Imaging (CSI) technology and the development of core algorithms and software infrastructure.
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Ashers Partouche, Schlumberger | 2022
For the wellbore formation testing technology platform he helped develop, Ora, which is in use globally in the energy industry.
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Watch Dr. Partouche’s Award Acceptance >

Christian A. Davies, Ph.D., Shell | 2021
For his development of a broad suite of alternative carbon management technologies to reduce emissions for a lower carbon future.
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Kristine Kieswetter, Ph.D. & Deepak Kilpadi, Ph.D., KCI | 2020
For their contributions to better wound therapy. Drs. Kieswetter and Kilpadi have both been the driving force behind the evolution of the use of negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), which has set the standard for advanced wound care.
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Watch Dr. Kieswetter’s & Dr. Kilpadi’s Award Acceptance >

Terrence F. Alger II, Ph.D., Southwest Research Institute | 2019
For his work on vehicle engines is already resulting in lower levels of pollution and better fuel economy. He developed a technology known as Dedicated Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or D-EGR®, where exhaust gas from the engine is given back to the fresh air being drawn into the engine, cooling the air.
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Watch Dr. Alger’s Award Acceptance >

Van N. Truskett, Ph.D., Cannon Nanotechnology, Inc. | 2016
For her impactful body of work in science, inventorship and engineering on some of the most fundamental and important problems for enabling nanoscale manufacturing in semiconductors, hard disk drives and flexible films for display applications.
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Watch Dr. Truskett’s Award Acceptance >

Charles J. Collins, Ph.D., Luminex Corporation | 2015
For his contributions to advance clinical diagnostics, healthcare and scientific research across the globe.
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Watch Dr. Collin’s Award Acceptance >

James Walker, Ph.D., Southwest Research Institute | 2014
For his pioneering work, development and modeling in impact theory, penetration mechanics, material characterization and response under dynamic loading.
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Watch Dr. Walker’s Award Acceptance >

Timothy J. Nedwed, Ph.D., ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company | 2013
For his innovative approaches in furthering the industry’s capabilities for responding to offshore oil spills.
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Watch Dr. Nedwed’s Award Acceptance >

Ted S. Moise, Ph.D., Texas Instruments | 2012
For the research, development and production of ferroelectric random-access memory (FRAM) embedded with advanced silicon integrated circuits.
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David Fuller III & Duncan Hudson III, National Instruments | 2011
For technology innovation in graphical programming and rapid application development for scientific and engineering applications in test, measurement, control and embedded system design.
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S.V. Sreenivasan, Ph.D. (NAE), The University of Texas at Austin | 2010
For his scientific and engineering contributions to the development of Step and Flash Imprint Lithography and the products of Molecular Imprints, Inc.
National Academy of Engineering: 2021
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Sameer P. Pendharkar, Texas Instruments | 2008
For research related to designing highly efficient and cost-efficient semiconductor devices and high voltage technology for next generation analog and high power systems.
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