Ray Kurzweil was born on February 12, 1948. He was the principal developer of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. He has received numerous awards including the MIT-Lemelson Prize and the National Medal of Technology. In 2002, he was inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame. He has written several books including The Age of Spiritual Machines, The Age of Intelligent Machines, The Singularity Is Near, and How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed.