Engineer Marian Croak, who currently leads Google's Research Center for Responsible AI and Human Centered Technology, and the late Dr. Patricia Bath are among the 2022 inductees for the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
The nonprofit organization announced these history-making women's honor last week.The two will join 29 others being inducted in the next cohort.
Croak and Bath are the first Black women inventors to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in its nearly 50-year history.
"Innovations drives the worldwide economy forward and improves our quality of life. This is especially apparent given what we have experienced in the past 18 months," Michael Oister, the Hall of Fame's CEO, said in a statement, per NPR.
"It's why at the National Inventors Hall of Fame we are privileged to honor our country's most significant inventors, who are giving the next generation the inspiration to innovate, create, and solve current and future problems."
Dr. Patricia Bath
Dr. Bath passed away in 2019 at the age of 76. She was the first Black woman physician to receive a medical patent and the first Black woman to complete residency in opthalmology at New York University, to name just two of her game-changing honors.
She invented a minimally invasive medical device that revolutionized cataract removal surgery. The technology used a "faster technique and established the foundation for eye surgeons to use lasers to restore or improve vision for millions of patients suffering from cataracts worldwide," a news release states.
Bath received five patents throughout her career and was an advocate of public health advocacy among Black Americans.
"To know that my mother is part of the 2022 class of National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees is an unbelievable honor," her daughter, Dr. Eraka Bath," said in a statement. The honor, she said is "an overdue recognition" of her mother's accomplishments and impact on the field.
Marian Croak invented the technology that helped advanced audio and video conferencing –– how working from home is made possible.
Her work specifically focuses on using voice technology to send digital signals over the internet rather than a phone.
Before heading up Google's Research Center, Croak and her team invented a text-to-donation system in 2005 that helped raised $130,000 for people impacted by Hurricane Katrina and $43 million in 2010 after the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
In an interview with Google, Croak said her interest in engineering begin as a little girl, following plumbers and engineers around the house to learn how they fixed things.
In her career, she continues to encourage women and girls to pursue engineering, and aspiring inventors. On being one of the first Black women inductees for the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Croak said this:
"I find that it inspires people when they see someone who looks like themselves on some dimension, and I'm proud to offer that type of representation. People also see that I'm just a normal person like themselves and I think that also inspires them to accomplish their goals. I want people to understand that it may be difficult but that they can overcome obstacles and that it will be so worth it."