Biggest tech innovations by Black inventors

Thursday 03/02/2023

In honor of Black History Month, FSU ITS is recognizing these inventors for their incredible contributions to the world.  

  1. Traffic Light - Garrett Morgan (1922) 

Morgan was inspired to create the traffic light after witnessing a serious car accident. During that time, traffic lights had only two lights—red and green. Morgan created the yellow light to warn drivers and alert them to begin to stop. His invention is used throughout the world today and has saved countless lives.  

  1. Home Security System - Marie Van Brittan Brown (1966) 

Brown was inspired to create the home security system because she lived in Queens, New York during the 1960s when the borough suffered an incredibly high crime rate. Originally a nurse, Brown collaborated with her husband to create an intricate system—a peephole to see who was on the other side of the front door, an adjustable camera and a microphone system to communicate with the individual.  

  1. Search Engine - Alan Emtage (1989) 

Emtage revolutionized the way we find and consume information today when he created the search engine for the internet. Emtage created the Archie search engine, a program that automated the long process of finding pieces of information. Today, he works for a NYC-based tech company called Mediapolis, where he continues to innovate and shape the tech industry.  

  1. Automatic Elevator Doors - Alexander Miles (1887) 

Before Miles’ creation, elevator rides were seen as risky. Before automatic doors, people had to shut both the shaft and elevator doors before riding, leading to multiple accidents. When Miles’ daughter was nearly involved in one such accident, he was prompted to take matters into his own hands and created automatic doors to shut elevators, widely used in the world today.  

  1. Color IBM PC Monitor - Mark Dean (1980s) 

Dean assembled a team of engineers at his IBM workplace to develop the color monitor to display more than merely black and white screens with limited processing power. His creation is the reason your computer loads faster and the reason we can see color on our screen.