Emik Avakian is a role model for endurance. Born with cerebral palsy, Avakian graduated Magna Cum Laude with degrees in Physics and Mathematics. He subsequently earned advanced degrees in the same subjects from Columbia University in New York city and went on to patent many inventions that help disabled persons be more self-sufficient.
Among those inventions are:
- breath-operated computer,
- a counter-weighted system that makes it easier to put wheelchairs in cars- vehicle loading system patented September 7, 1993
- self-propelled robotic wheel for converting manual wheel chairs to automatic- patented June 27, 1995
- the stored function calculator patented September 16, 1952
- information storage, retrieval and handling apparatus patented June 22, 1965
More patents can be found at: http://www.patentfish.com/emik-avakian
His contributions were so extraordinary that Avakian was honored by President Kennedy in 1961 for the “Most Outstanding Contribution to Employment of the Handicapped.” Other honors include Tau Beta Pi’s “Eminent Engineer Award” (1979), the Armenian Bicentennial Committee’s “Excellence in the Field of Science Award” (1976), and the Shah of Iran Crown Medal (1963). In 1996, Eureka College also presented him with the Honorary Doctorate Award for his personification of the ideals valued by the college.