2020 Year in review: A closer look at SRI’s innovations


Innovation, AI and dynamic startups take on this year’s challenges


2020 posed never-seen-before challenges for the world. COVID-19 had an impact on companies, industries and innovation. These challenges highlight more than ever the need for new ideas and technical innovation. SRI spinout and technology startups rose to the challenge, continuing their long record of successful innovation in many fields, including bioscience, healthcare, education and more.

This year, we brought you closer to SRI’s innovations and the innovators that make them possible. We launched Dish TV — our video interview series with SRI innovators, a monthly newsletter covering SRI’s latest developments, and offered a deep dive into SRI’s rich history of innovations and the innovators behind them.

Cultural injustices continued to impact organizations, and many, including SRI, sought to continue supporting diversity, equity and inclusion. You can view statements from SRI CEO Bill Jeffrey and SRI Education.

We look forward to celebrating our 75th anniversary in 2021, sharing our rich history of groundbreaking innovations and spotlighting the people and teams behind them.

Check out some 2020 milestones:

Stay in the know: The Dish blog, newsletter and Dish TV interview series

SRI is proud to have launched several channels to stay up to date with our latest activities.

The Dish blog takes a closer look at SRI’s projects and innovations though the new 75 Years of Innovation series, which focuses on our rich history of groundbreaking innovations; the Featured Innovators series, where we spotlight the colleagues behind these innovations; and blogs around our areas of expertiseSRI Ventures spin-outs and more.


The SRI newsletter began this year, offering a monthly update on SRI’s latest activities.

Click here to subscribe.

Dish TV, our video interview series, brought viewers into the world of our innovations, offering a look into the science behind the tech:

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We will continue to produce thought-provoking content into our 75th year.

COVID-19’s global impact

The pandemic posed challenges for many organizations, learning institutions and day-to-day living. SRI has launched several studies around COVID’s impact on mental healtheducation and learning and virtual internships in STEM.

In bioscience, SRI developed SynFini™ — a novel drug discovery platform. By using artificial intelligence (AI), SynFini enables faster synthesis of drugs, shortening discovery timelines from years to months or less. This year, SRI has formed collaborations with AI drug discovery and development companies Iktos and Exscientia to accelerate these processes further. SRI Biosciences also examined COVID-19’s impact on mental health, conducting an online survey to quantify the psychological cost of pandemic restrictions around the world.

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NSIC: Nomura-SRI Innovation Center

In September, SRI International and global financial services group Nomura announced the Nomura-SRI Innovation Center. This center’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of Silicon Valley’s disruptive technology-innovation processes into corporate Japan.

By connecting Japanese member corporations with U.S.-based R&D labs, university research, incubators and startups, NSIC will encourage innovation through a range of business practices that it will then synthesize and deliver through workshops, guest lectures and bespoke content. View the press release here.

Learn more about NSIC .

Nomura SRI innovation center over pic of Golden Gate Bridge

SRI has won several prestigious awards

Edison Awards

The CMOS imager, invented by SRI and currently aboard NASA’s Parker Probe and ESA’s Solar Orbiter missions, received the Gold Edison Award in the aerospace Innovation category. This wide-field imager was chosen as a winner by a panel of over 3,000 leading business executives from around the world.

Read more about our win.

CMOS Parker Solar Probe Edison Awards

Stevie Awards

Gabriela Ciocarlie, former Senior Technology Manager & Head of SRI’s NYC research hub, won a bronze Women of the Year Stevie® Award — Government or Non-Profit for her outstanding work in cybersecurity.

The Stevie Awards shine a spotlight on women executives, entrepreneurs and organizations run by women around the globe. Read the full press release from Stevie.

AutoTech Breakthrough Award

AutoTech Breakthrough has recognized the work of SRI’s Center for Vision Technologies Lab, designating its Driver Monitoring System (DMS) as the Auto Sensor Innovation of the Year

SRI’s DMS uses a suite of in-cabin infrared and 3D cameras to monitor the driver’s eye movements, facial expressions and general body language to identify emotional states and drowsiness levels in real-time.

Read our full announcement.


Silicon Valley Robotics ‘Good Robot’ Award for Innovation

SRI Robotics’ Inception Drive has won Silicon Valley Robotics’ Innovation Award from their ‘Good Robot’ Awards. The Inception Drive is a new transmission that can reverse the direction of the output relative to input without clutches or extra stages, dramatically increasing total system.


A year of successful SRI Venture spin-outs

SRI Ventures’ healthcare spinouts Decoded Health and Curie AI developed systems using AI, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) to improve patient interactions and standard of care. Read more in our blogs on Decoded Health and Curie AI.

Loop Team, an AI-assisted virtual office platform, launched, allowing distributed teams to maintain connections. This has proven especially valuable, given many are still working from home due to COVID-19. Read our blog, their TechCrunch feature and view our interview with CEO Raj Singh:

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Vitrina AI’s global video-content platform has the potential to transform the market in video licensing transactions. Learn more in our blog and our interview with Atul Phadnis, Vitrina founder:

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Education advancements in EdTech

The bar for education technology (EdTech) should be that it effectively supports teaching and learning, and there is research and evidence to support that claim. To reduce the risk, increase the impact, and lower the development cost of edtech innovations, we must tap into research-informed insights about how people learn. SRI learning science experts partner with edtech companies to improve the speed and efficacy of edtech iterative development.

Read more from SRI Education.


We said goodbye to computing pioneer and co-creator of the computer mouse, William English

Bill English built the very first computer mouse with Doug Engelbart at SRI. It was unveiled at what would come to be called The Mother of All Demos in 1968. The demo premiered experimental computer technologies that are now commonplace — video conferencing, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing, and more. Read Bill’s full obituary from the New York Times.

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SRI-managed QED-C named their steering committee

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced the establishment of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium’s (QED-C) steering committee. The QED-C, managed by SRI International, brings together industry, academic, and federal stakeholders to collaborate on quantum information science research, standards, and workforce initiatives that advance American leadership in this critical field.

Read the full press release from NIST.


QED-C also launched their Twitter. Follow them here.

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