Saul Griffith wins MacArthur "genius" grant

Our pal Saul Griffith, co-founder of the quintessential "make tank" Squid Labs, open source hardware hacker, co-author of Howtoons, and regular contributor to MAKE: and CRAFT has been awarded one of the 2007 MacArthur Fellowships, aka a "genius" grant. This is an unrestricted $500,000 grant given to "talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction." Congratulations, Saul! We're proud of you! From the MacArthur Foundation site:
 500SaulSaul Griffith is an inventor whose innovations span industrial design, technology, and science education. Through a variety of endeavors at MIT and as a principal in Squid Labs, Griffith demonstrates his boundless energy for inventing across diverse disciplines in the global public interest. While still a graduate student at MIT, he designed a unique membrane-based molding system that can produce a variety of common lenses from a single pair of flexible molding surfaces. This prototype has the potential to change the economics of corrective lenses in rural and underserved communities around the world and continues to be a major focus of research and development energy at Squid Labs. At MIT, Griffith co-founded, a web community that has produced socially conscious engineering solutions, such as novel household water-treatment systems. is the forerunner of, a remarkable do-it-yourself website driven by user contributions. He is also a creative force behind HowToons, an animated educational resource designed to engage children in hands-on science and engineering projects. Through the spin-off company Potenco, Griffith initiated the project design for a hand-held human-powered generator, which has the potential significantly to improve access to electronic devices such as laptops and water purifiers throughout the world. Though still quite young, he holds several patents in optics, textiles, and nanotechnology. In these engineering ventures as well as others yet to be imagined, Griffith is a prodigy of invention in service of the world community.
Link to Saul's home page, Link to Saul's MacArthur page, Link to 2007 MacArthur Fellows

UPDATE: More on Saul and another Bay Area recipient, UC Berkeley professor Claire Kremen, in the San Francisco Chronicle. Link

UPDATE: Tim O'Reilly, Saul's friend, colleague, and future father-in-law, has posted a wonderful profile over at Radar. Link



  1. Congrats indeed!

    I don’t really know Saul, but I do know that he was responsible for the best damned view of a fireworks show that I’ve ever witnessed. You can get just about anywhere with ingenuity and a large supply of bicycle inner tubes.

  2. F*** yeah! Half a million for just being cool is definitely the bees knees, but getting half a Meg aaaaaand being a MacArthur fellow? Fantastic!

  3. I was lucky enough to do Saul’s profile for MIT Tech Review’s Top 35 under 35. Honestly, I’d have trouble thinking of another individual I’ve ever profiled that deserves the MacArthur Fellowship as much he does. Can’t wait to see what comes of it.

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