Jim Fruchterman: Genius
This morning, I found an item in my Inbox from Blind News telling me that Jim Fruchterman received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. I’ve pasted in the item from Bill Trippe’s blog where it had originally run below.
I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than Jim. His contributions to technology that we blinks use (including inventing the first scan and read machine, years before Ray Kurzweil thought of doing it) and fft based OCR, the basis for all modern character recognition software are incredible enough but, then, he moved on to creating his latest non-profit and spread out from projects for blind and otherwise print disabled people into a panoply of really cool projects.
Knowing Jim personally a little, I can say, without reservation, that the word “genius” may be an understatement when describing him. When Jim enters a room, he brings his enthusiasm and seemingly infinite energy to the space. It always seems as though everyone else gets smarter when he’s around.
Jim is on the PPO advisory Board and helped us with our incorporation. He is also the man behind Bookshare and lots of other really cool things.
So, please join me in congratulating Jim on winning the award and, more importantly, for his lifetime of invention and contribution to society at large.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Bookshare.org Founder Awarded Genius Grant
By Bill Trippe
Jim Fruchterman, CEO of The Benetech Initiative, has been awarded a 2006 MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Each of this year's 25 MacArthur Fellows learned this week that they will receive $500,000 in "no strings attached" funding over the next five years.
Jim Fruchterman, 47, is an electrical engineer turned social entrepreneur who adapts cutting-edge technology into affordable tools for the visually impaired and other underserved communities. In 1989, Fruchterman founded the nonprofit company Arkenstone to develop and manufacture a reading machine for the blind using optical character recognition technology. He delivered the reading tool in a dozen languages to 35,000 people in 60 countries.
In 2000, Fruchterman founded another nonprofit company, The Benetech Initiative, to create innovative technology solutions that address social needs. Benetech's first project, Bookshare.org created the world's largest accessible library of scanned books and periodicals providing people with visual or print disabilities access to a dramatically increased volume of print materials.
Posted by Bill Trippe at September 19, 2006 07:45 PM