NASA Engineer Wins Space Act Award for Inventing the Cochlear Implant
More than 100 inventors, including the father of the cochlear implant, received recognition at the Sixth Annual Kennedy Space Center Space Act Awards Luncheon today. KSC’s Technology Commercialization Office Chief Jim Aliberti and Spaceport Engineering and Technology Director Jim Heald welcomed the inventors to KSC Visitor Complex’s Debus Center.
This is the third consecutive year KSC earned more Space Act Award dollars than any other NASA civil service center. The fiscal year 2002 award amount of $190,850 is proportionately divided among the four areas of awards. According to KSC Center Director Roy Bridges, the accomplishment displays the Center workforce is dedicated, hard working and creative.
“It makes my day to see this becoming an annual thing,” Bridges said. “You’re creating a standard and improving the quality of life.”
This year’s inventors are definitely living up to the Center Director’s statement. Included among the winners, who individually received $500 to $21,000, was retiree and exceptional Space Act Award recipient, Adam Kissiah.
Not only did Adam Kissiah finally receive well-deserved praise for inventing the cochlear implant 25 years ago, he was also given an award for $21,000. His monetary award is considered the largest award to a single inventor in KSC history. While medical centers worldwide use Kissiah’s invention, he’s humble about his impact. “Regardless of what level of participation I had, it is nice to know I contributed to making many lives better,” he said.
Another Space Act Award recipient, Allan Dianic, who is an ENSCO Inc. employee, met Kissiah at the ceremony and gave Kissiah a warm “thanks” for the invention. In August, Dianic’s two-year-old daughter, Victoria, regained full hearing after receiving a cochlear implant. “It’s wonderful to get a chance to meet the inventor of the technology that made it possible for my child to hear,” he said.
The Space Act Awards program was authorized under the Space Act of 1958 to provide official recognition and to grant equitable monetary awards for those inventions and other scientific and technical contributions that have helped to achieve NASA’s aeronautical and space goals. The awards are also designed to stimulate and encourage the creation and reporting of similar contributions in the future.
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