Morriss '73 Part of Team Behind Groundbreaking USB Technology
May 29, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – A team of Intel Corporation computer experts that included Illinois
Wesleyan graduate Jeff Morriss has won the European Inventor Award 2013 for the development
of Universal Serial Bus (USB) technology that is used to easily connect computers
to other electronic devices.
The award is Europe's most important prize for innovation and is presented annually
by the European Patent Office to outstanding innovators in five categories for their
contributions to technological, social and economic progress. The USB team won in
the category "Non-European Countries.” The 2013 winners were announced May 28 in Amsterdam.
Morriss, a 1973 Illinois Wesleyan graduate, was part of the five-member Intel team
that developed the USB. After majoring in physics at Illinois Wesleyan, Morriss earned
a master’s degree from Northwestern University before joining Intel. Ajay V. Bhatt
led the Intel team, which included Morriss, Shaun Knoll, Shelagh Callahan and Bala
The idea for the USB formed when Bhatt became frustrated with the process of reconfiguring
and rebooting the computer while installing a printer for his wife's computer. Bhatt
decided to create a connection interface that would recognize and run new devices
automatically when they were plugged into a computer. Taking inspiration from the
common electrical wall outlet, the idea of the Universal Serial Bus was born — an
interface working by 'translating' the different signals from peripherals and delivering
them into one centralized message stream to the computer's operating system.
Considered the “gold standard in computer connectivity,” the USB replaced competing
plug designs, making the plug-and-play a reality and the protocol an industry standard.
The invention is now found in billions of electronic devices worldwide. USB not only
allows users easy connections of computers with webcams, smartphones and even complex
scientific instruments, it also streamlines work for hardware and software developers.
Contact: Kim Hill, (309) 556-3960