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Speaker, Skin and Vaccine Inventors Honored

April 8, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Developers of a better stereo speaker, artificial skin for burn victims and a vaccine for animal disease were picked as the nation’s most creative inventors.

The 14th annual Inventor of the Year Awards honored five men Tuesday who were characterized as just ordinary people who saw a challenge and took it on.

″We at this table are not special people, just people who looked at a problem and got excited about solving it,″ said Amar G. Bose, co-winner of Inventor of the Year honors. ″Everybody has that potential.″

Bose shared that designation with his co-worker, William R. Short, for their development of an improved loudspeaker system.

In addition, Distinguished Inventor designations were given to Abe Widra for his work on artificial skin, and the father-son team of Saul and Malon Kit who have done pioneering work in developing veterinary vaccines.

The awards are given by Intellectual Property Owners Inc., a trade association representing several hundred corporations, universities and individuals who hold patents, trademarks and copyrights.

The aim is to encourage creativity, Herbert C. Wamsley, executive director of IPO, said at a news conference to introduce the inventors.

″America has a long tradition of Yankee ingenuity,″ Wamsley said, while expressing concern about the increasing number of U.S. patents being issued to foreigners - more than 40 percent last year.

Saul Kit explained that he and his son, working at Baylor College of Medicine, have developed a vaccine used for the disease pseudorabies in swine.

That is a herpes type of virus, Kit said, and their work has helped in learning to understand that virus and how to combat it.

Thus, he said, someday similar work might be extended to help sufferers from genital herpes.

Their development of markers on the vaccine also could prove important in dealing with such deadly diseases as acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Without special markers, blood tests cannot distinguish between people who have been vaccinated against a disease and those infected with it, Kit said. But their marker system, developed in veterinary work, allows that differentiation, he said.

Widra, a microbiologist at the University of Illinois, developed a type of easily applied artificial skin using human proteins and a complex sugar.

The skin, now under commercial development, can be stored for long periods at room temperature and could prove a boon in major burn cases and other accidents, he said.

It has been tested for use on skin ulcers in the elderly, and could be available widely within a year, Widra said.

Bose and Short operate a sound technology company in Framingham, Mass., where Bose said he plans to market their invention.

The acoustic wave system drives sound from a relatively small speaker through a pair of lengthy tubes, which twist around inside a cabinet. This system allows modification of the sound to produce deeper and more powerful notes, Bose said.

The result is that large, permanent speakers will no longer be needed for high-quality reproduction.

Bose said his system will be available in stereo systems, installed in some televisions and also in larger models for commercial use, such as in theaters.