Woody Norris is a serial inventor of electronics, tools and cutting-edge sonic equipment — such as the LRAD acoustic cannon.

Why you should listen

When Woody Norris won the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2005, his official prize bio called him "a classic independent inventor ... self-educated, self-funded and self-motivated." His mind seems to race toward things the world needs, though we don't know it yet: a nonlethal acoustic weapon that has been used to ward off pirates, a bone-induction headset, radar that can scan the human body, a tapeless tape recorder ...

Norris' educational background is a key to his restless mind. He is not quite "self-educated" -- he's taken many classes, but always at his own speed and in his own style, studying the things he knew he wanted to know and working closely with professors. Ironically, it's a model that cutting-edge colleges are now embracing.

His inventions have seeded several public companies. Recently he has been working on the AirScooter -- a sort of propeller-powered counterpart to the Moller SkyCar.

Woody Norris’ TED talks