7 Tech Idols Who Left Us in 2013

by CXOtoday News Desk    Dec 04, 2013


The technology world lost a number of heroes in 2013. From the passionate Internet activist Aaron Swartz to the pioneer of computer mouse, Douglas Engelbart and the innovator in video games Hiroshi Yamauchi who served many years as president of Nintendo, all of them had made enduring contributions in the fields of science and technology and in turn the society at large. CXOtoday pays a tribute to some of these heroes.

Aaron Swartz (1986 - 2013)

Swartz death was perhaps the most shocking death of this year that shook the entire technology world. An Internet activist and virtuoso programmer, he took his own life on January 11 at age 26. Swartz helped develop RSS at age 14 and went on to establish Infogami, a wiki application framework, which later merged with Reddit. In 2010, Swartz started Demand Progress, a group that fought against Internet censorship and legislation such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). He eventually faced legal trouble for downloading and harvesting millions of academic journal articles from the digital library JSTOR. Swartz was reportedly battling depression towards the end.

Amar Bose (1929 - 2013)

Dr. Amar Bose, founder of audio manufacturing company Bose Corporation, passed away this year. Bose earned his Bachelor’s degree, Masters and Doctorate – all in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His company, Bose Corporation, which he founded in 1964, remains a leader in audio technology, producing speakers and headphones. He built his unique expertise into the company’s products, such as concert-hall-quality speakers and noise-canceling headphones. Bose died at his home in Wayland, Massachusetts on July 12.

Douglas Engelbart (1925 - 2013)

Engineer and inventor Douglas Engelbart introduced the computer mouse to the world on Dec. 9, 1968, at an event dubbed the “Mother of All Demos.” He is known for his work on the challenges of human–computer interaction, particularly while at his Augmentation Research Center Lab in SRI International. He also helped develop other common computing technologies such as video conferencing, word processing, hypertext and collaborative editing. Engelbart died on July 3 after a six-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Jack Harker (1926 - 2013)

Jack Harker (center) is known as the father of removable disk storage. He worked for IBM for 35 years, ending in 1987, and led the IBM 1311 Disk Storage Drive — a project that released its first model in October 1962. Harker discussed his career accomplishments in the Computer History Museum’s “Oral Histories” series. He received the first IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Storage Systems Award “for leadership in the development of information storage devices. Harkar died at his home in San Mateo, California on April 27.

Hiroshi Yamauchi (1927 - 2013)

Hiroshi Yamauchi served as the president of Nintendo from 1949 until 2002. He is widely credited with turning the company into the video game empire it remains today. The Internet responded with several touching tributes when the video game magnate died of pneumonia in Japan on September 19. Hiroshi Yamauchi served as president of Nintendo from 1949 until 2002. He’s widely credited with turning the company into the video game empire it remains today. The Internet responded with several touching tributes to Yamauchi when the video game magnate died of pneumonia in Japan on Sept. 19.

Ray Dolby (1933 - 2013)

Ray Dolby was a pioneer in the field of audio noise reduction and compression. He founded Dolby Laboratories in 1966 that produced a cleaner, crisper sound for recording studios and record labels and considerably reduced the hiss or hum associated with recording until then. He unveiled this noise-reduction system in Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film A Clockwork Orange. Dolby’s creation to reduce tape noise noticeably improved the recording and playback process. Dolby suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for several years and he was diagnosed with leukemia several months before his death on Sept. 12.

Yvonne Brill (1924 - 2013)

She was the Canadian scientist best known for her development of rocket and jet propulsion technologies. During her career she was involved in a broad range of national space programs in the United States, including NASA and the International Maritime Satellite Organization. The many accomplishments of Brill earned her the 2011 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, presented by U.S. President Barack Obama. Brill worked on a number of NASA projects over the years, and in the 1970s designed a rocket thruster that kept satellites from falling out of orbit. Brill died of breast cancer-related complications and passed away on March 27.