2013 National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees

Among those honored are the creators of DSL, CDMA, and the crash-test dummy

The National Inventors Hall of Fame, located at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va., inducted on May 1 its Class of 2013: "Legendary inventors whose innovations and entrepreneurial endeavors have changed the world."

The Hall, founded in 1973, is closing in on 500 inductees. These include networking/computing innovators such as Robert Metcalfe (Ethernet) and Vint Cerf (Internet), as well as non-computer technology types such as Orville and Wilbur Wright. (For more on tech industry honors, read this story).

And here are 2013's inductees.

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Whirlwind tour of networking and computing's top honors, awards, and prizes

Notable deaths of 2012 from the worlds of technology, science, and inventions 

Arthur Ashkin

At Bell Labs, Ashkin invented optical trapping. Also called optical tweezing, it's a process that traps molecules and macroscopic particles by using laser light. The technique utilizes radiation pressure, when light or other forms of radiation exert force on an object. The process has allowed for the study of small particles in many fields.

Donald Bitzer, Robert Willson, Gene Slottow

In the mid-1960s, Bitzer and Slottow, who were faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Willson, a graduate student, worked together to create the first plasma display. A new display was needed for the PLATO computerized learning system that had been created by Bitzer because traditional displays had no inherent memory, lacked high brightness and contrast, and flickered.

Garrett Brown

Brown invented the Steadicam camera stabilizer, ushering in new technology that enhanced movie and television production by allowing directors to obtain shots that were previously thought impossible. His invention is a body-mounted stabilization device so camera operators can move freely while filming remains smooth. Among other inventions, Brown also created the Skycam system that changed how sporting events are filmed by allowing moving aerial views.

John Daugman, Leonard Flom, Aran Safir

Flom and Safir patented their idea for an iris identification system in 1987, basing their work on the fact that every iris, including in identical twins, is unique. Daugman then went on to invent the iris recognition biometric algorithms used in the identification of people using the iris. Today, iris recognition is considered the most accurate in the field of biometric identification based on physical or behavioral characteristics.

Irwin Jacobs, Andrew Viterbi

Jacobs and Viterbi, two of Qualcomm's co-founders, were major contributors to code division multiple access (CDMA) technology that is used in cellular telephone networks. CDMA now supports more than 1.6 billion subscribers in developing and developed countries with voice and high-speed Internet access. It was standardized for North America in 1993.

Joseph Lechleider

While working at Bellcore, Lechleider was the first person who demonstrated the feasibility of sending broadband signals over copper. His work turned the existing copper wire phone network into a high-speed broadband delivery instrument, allowing for transmission of data at equal rates in both directions. He also suggested that larger amounts of data could be sent in one direction and smaller amounts in the other, which came to be called  asymmetric DSL, or ADSL, the standard used today in much of the world's DSL connections.

Samuel Alderson

Alderson was a pioneer in developing the crash-test dummy, a full-scale anthropomorphic test device. The crash-test dummy has provided automotive engineers with valuable information, enabling them to design more effective safety features including seat belts and air bags. From its beginnings of use in the automotive industry, dummies have gone on to provide valuable data in all kinds of development and testing, from aircraft to medical technology.

John Birden, Ken Jordan

Birden and Jordan were working at Monsanto's Mound Laboratory when they developed the RTG, a self-contained power source that obtains its power from radioactive decay. RTGs have powered most of the exploration vehicles the United States has launched into deep space, where the sun's intensity is not sufficient to generate electricity with solar cells, and also where steady, reliable power is needed in unmanned situations.

Alfred Loomis

Among Loomis' many innovations, his LORAN radio navigation system for marine and flight navigators is probably the best known. LORAN used fixed land beacons that allowed navigators to determine a vessel's location, and it remained an essential tool until the introduction of the Global Positioning System in the 1990s.

Robert Moog

In 1964, Moog introduced the first complete voltage controlled modular synthesizer, an instrument capable of producing a wide variety of electronic sounds. His synthesizer helped revolutionize the face of music, giving artists and composers the capability to create a brand new palette of sounds.

Grote Reber

Reber, a pioneering radio astronomer, built the first substantial radio telescope dedicated to astronomy. Radio astronomy allows for the detection of objects and phenomena not possible with optical astronomy, utilizing a radio receiver that can amplify faint cosmic signals and make the waves strong enough to be recorded and charted.