Video game pioneer Ralph Baer, whose work was the basis for Pong
, will finally receive the 2004 National Medal of Technology along with six other recipients in a White House ceremony on February 14th, following the previous announcement
of the honor back in November.
President George W. Bush will present the medals for both Technology and Science at 10:40 A.M., in an event to be webcast at the official White House website
The award, which is America's highest honor for science and technology, goes to those who "have helped commercialize new technologies, create jobs, improve American productivity, and stimulate the Nation's economic growth and development", and was established by Congress in 1980.
Baer was working on ideas for using a TV set to play games as early as 1966, and invented a fully functional 'ping-pong' style electronic game in 1968. The Magnavox Odyssey version of this game inspired Nolan Bushnell to create Pong
, and Baer eventually licensed the 'ping-pong' patent to Atari and other companies to allow them to continue making Pong
Baer then continued working with Coleco on its Telstar technology, and worked on the popular handheld electronic game Simon
, as well as holding over fifty U.S. patents on game-related innovations.