Yael Maguire, 30
Inventing across disciplines
A technological omnivore, Yael Maguire moves fearlessly among fields such as physics, engineering, biology, and software design. As a graduate student at MIT, he designed a sensor that makes the measurement of nuclear magnetic resonance between 10 and 100 times more sensitive but works on samples 1,000 to 10,000 times smaller than those required by current probes. Shuguang Zhang, associate director of MITs Center for Biomedical Engineering and Maguires thesis advisor, says the sensors will allow researchers to more easily obtain information valuable for designing new drugs. While a doctoral student at the MIT Media Laboratory, Maguire cofounded ThingMagic, where he is now co-chief technology officer, and pioneered the use of software-defined radio for the radio frequency ID chips that help track retail inventory more quickly and accurately. Maguires software allows a single reader to scan and decode hundreds of tags at once, no matter which of the many existing data protocols they use. Maguire also cofounded ThinkCycle, a nonprofit that encourages technologists to collaborate on problems in developing countries.