Scientist Named To Florida Inventors Hall Of Fame

April 7, 2015

Jerry Pratt, one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of robotics, has been named to the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, joining a group of inventors which includes the likes of Thomas Edison.

Pratt, a senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Escambia County, holds four patents on robotics inventions and is considered a rising star in the field. He is one of seven people with Florida connections who will be inducted into the Hall  at an October ceremony in Tampa. Others in this group, the second year of inductees, include famed automaker Henry Ford and scientist Robert Grubbs, winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Pratt said he was honored and humbled by the recognition.

“Sometimes I think what’s most fun about working in robotics is that we are practically inventing the field every day,” Pratt said. “There’s a long way to go before robotics is a mature field, and I am honored to join so many other people who are working to create the future.”

Pratt, 43, holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before joining IHMC in 2002, Pratt’s company developed a powered exoskeleton that allowed a person to carry large loads over rough terrain with little effort. His other patents cover technology that allows bipedal robots to know where to place their feet when walking, and to maintain their balance and prevent falls.

Pratt leads a team of researchers who also developed the HexRunner, which last year set a world speed record for legged robots, reaching speeds of more than 30 mph. Pratt’s work has been instrumental in changing the stereotype of robots as clunky machines with jerky movements to ones that maximize speed, agility and biological similarity, said IHMC founder and CEO Ken Ford.

“We’re really proud of Jerry; it’s a well-deserved honor,” Ford said. “Jerry’s work personifies the subtle and rather beautiful virtuous cycle between the acts of invention and of scientific  discovery.”

In June, Pratt and the IHMC Robotics Team will compete in the final round of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) international robotics competition, which tests the ability of humanoid robot systems to respond to disasters. The team placed first in the Virtual Robotics Challenge, a computer simulation, and second in the DRC Trials at Homestead Miami Speedway using actual robots in a competition featuring 26 teams from around the globe.

Pictured top inset: Jerry Pratt, left, at DARPA Robotics Trials. Submitted photo for, click to enlarge.


4 Responses to “Scientist Named To Florida Inventors Hall Of Fame”

  1. anne miller on April 16th, 2015 5:23 pm

    Jerry was a student in my Ashland (Wisconsin) High School Advanced Literature class. In my 34 years of teaching public school I’ve always referred to him as the one kid I couldn’t teach — because he was already so far beyond the level of where most high school scholars (and teachers!) were. I am so proud of his accomplishments and wish him the best in his future endeavors.

  2. Bobby Likis on April 7th, 2015 8:20 am

    Congratulations to Jerry for his accomplishments. No doubt, his future endeavors will make a difference in how we live our lives. Ken Ford is also to be commended for developing the “think tank” environment at IHMC in Pensacoal. IHMC exposes our community to higher technologies and increases our chances of attracting and retaining outstanding individuals.

  3. Bob C. on April 7th, 2015 7:53 am

    The people at IHMC do some Awesome things with their brains and ingenuity.
    Anytime I go there my most frequent comment is, “I want one of those…”.

    Congratulations Jerry Pratt, IHMC and the others who have shown the value of teamwork and have Earned this Recognition.

  4. Jan on April 7th, 2015 5:30 am

    Great recognition! Congratulations! And also a tribute to the environment at IMHC, a world class research group right here in Pensacola!