2010s: A new decade of innovation

NASA Kepler Space Telescope

To boldly go where no man has gone before- but could potentially- NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope launched in March 2010 is tasked with searching habitable Earth-like planets in distant star systems. Using a photometer that’s more than three feet in diameter, the Kepler telescope is now continuously observing some 100,000 stars located between 600 and 3,000 light-years away. Scientists hope that Kepler could find dozens of habitable planets during its mission.


Microsoft Project Natal

Microsoft’s prototype system dubbed Project Natal gave a whole new meaning to gaming: gaming with no controller at all. Your movements and voice control the game. The hardware component of the Natal system includes a color video camera, an infrared emitter and sensor that gives it depth perception, a mic that figures out where you are, and a microprocessor to crunch all that data. The software component digests data in real time from 48 points on the body, plus audio input and delivers perfectly smooth game control.

This high tech innovation excited gamers worldwide, erupting a volcano of excitement when news hit that it would be available on the popular game ‘Halo’.



Don Skomsky Valerie Palfy invented advanced goggles, “Zoggles”, to keep fog from forming on lenses and windows. The pair created a device with a humidity and temperature sensor that would stay colder than a windshield, ensuring they would sense when fog was coming and would turn on an automobile's defroster.

Skomsky was able to use an obscure formula to predict when fog would form based on the temperature and humidity, so that the bulky controls could all fit on a chip. The Zoggles now operate with that chip, which calculates when the lens needs to be heated and activates a heater that shuts off when it is no longer needed. The innovators are planning to license their technology to manufacturers of motorcycle helmets, windshields, scuba masks, and military gear.

© 2018 Wilson Gunn