This week on Behind the Breakthrough, we’re profiling Pat Pataranutaporn. When he’s not creating computer control system software and interactive research interfaces, he studies biological sciences at Arizona State University, where he also serves as a researcher at the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology.

Pat participates in projects with StudentRND, a nonprofit that hosts events, camps, and forums to support student inventors. We spoke with him after he participated in StudentRND’s CodeDay, a 24-hour “hackathon” designed to support students as they pursue inventions.

Here are some of Pat’s reflections:

On his philosophy of invention: “To me, invention means creating something that is good for humankind in any form, whether it’s abstract like a computer algorithm or something more solid, like a robot. Invention ideas are often improved with collaboration and StudentRND is really helpful because it provides such a powerful community. Being surrounded by people who share similar inventing interests is both beneficial and inspiring.”

On his advice for other young inventors:

“A quote from Marie Curie has inspired me for years: ‘Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.’ I always keep this in mind, because I can be intimidated by the idea of working on cutting edge ideas, even when I know I have something potentially groundbreaking in my head. So as young inventors and innovators, we should believe in ourselves and our ideas. If we don’t, our progress for humankind will stall.”

On inventions he would like to see:

“In the next 50 years, humankind will continue to develop innovative and advanced medical technology. I would love for the human race to find a cure for almost every disease, and have rigid protocols for developing treatments for new ailments. I would also like to see more interesting entertainment technology – when people live longer, they will need even more fun and entertainment.”

On inventions he hopes to work on:

“There are so many interesting things happening in the world right now. I’m excited by all of them. I don’t know exactly what I’ll invent next, and that is precisely what attracts me to invention. What I do know is that I’ll invent something soon. My hope is it will be impactful for both human beings and our world.”

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