Richard Baraniuk, Rice University’s Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is one of 175 academic inventors named this year, and is now among 757 fellows representing 229 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes.
According to the organization, its fellows have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation to create or facilitate inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Combined, they are named inventors on more than 26,000 U.S. patents.
Baraniuk is an early contributor to the field of compressive sensing, which enables new kinds of digital cameras and medical imaging devices. Recently, he and his colleagues introduced the FlatCam, a thin, lens-less camera platform that may enable flexible, foldable, wearable and even disposable cameras. Earlier, Baraniuk was co-inventor of the single-pixel camera. Unlike cameras with millions of picture elements (pixels), it uses one pixel and compressive sensing to gather light into a coherent image.
Baraniuk grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, and earned his Ph.D. in ECE from the University of Illinois–Urbana Ph.D. in 1992. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the École normale supérieure de Lyon, and joined the Rice faculty in 1993.
In 2009, Baraniuk was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2011 he received the WISE Education Award from the Qatar Foundation. Last year, from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Baraniuk was awarded the James H. Mulligan Education Medal and won the IEEE’s Signal Processing Society Best Paper Award.
He is also a pioneer in education. He founded Rice-based Connexions in 1999 to bring textbooks and other learning materials to the Internet. Out of that effort grew OpenStax, which provides high-quality, peer-reviewed, college-level textbooks to students worldwide, either as free downloads or low-cost printed publications.
More than 1.5 million college students have used OpenStax’s 25 textbooks, which will save them an estimated $70 million this academic year alone. Through OpenStax, Baraniuk is developing a software platform for textbooks that deliver personalized lessons.
This year’s fellows will be inducted next April at the academy's annual conference in Boston.