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STEM Professional of the week

Leonardo W. Estevez, Ph.D.      
Texas Instruments

Chief Software Technologist
Wireless Business Unit

As the key technologist for Connectivity Software in the CTO office of Texas Instruments’ Wireless Connectivity Business Unit, Dr. Estevez develops next generation wireless solutions for emerging wireless connectivity markets. He was promoted to this critical role in 2006, and since then he’s spearheaded the development OpenMax (Open Media Acceleration), a revolutionary open source multimedia framework that defines interfaces for video processing functions critical to smart phones and currently deployed on all android phones.

He chartered the development of this mobile media acceleration architecture while with the Khronos Group, the not-for-profit consortium of industry representatives that creates and manages open standards for the authoring and acceleration of parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media. He also led the working group of silicon vendors and mobile phone manufacturers as chair and baseline contributor until the specification was published in 2005. In 2008, Android was released with OpenMax as its mobile media acceleration architecture, and since then billions of smart phones have shipped with the ability to capture, process, and display high definition video and images.

Dr. Estevez has also made pivotal contributions to video and image processing technology while with TI’s DSPS Research and Development Center. As a Member of the Group Technica staff there, he designed the C54x video system and guided the coop that developed software demonstrating real-time 3D rendered facial animation. He also co-invented an image and video compressor that subsequently shipped in billions of cameras and camera phones, and designed video capture and display cards that enabled head tracking and 3D rendering. In total, Dr. Estevez has 14 patents issued, 45 patents pending, and nearly 20 technical papers authored or co-authored in his field.

In 2009, Leonardo added a Master of Science degree in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas to his Ph.D. in electrical engineering so he could expand his work into the medical field. He’s collaborated with the Center for Bain Health at UT Dallas to develop iPad-based cognitive testing systems, medical databases, and prototype wireless health technologies that enable remote cognitive assessment of trauma and stroke patients via mobile phones. This last technology in particular has led to great improvements in clinical care by allowing clinicians to monitor recent trauma and stroke patients after hospitalization, and to take timely action when needed. He’s also championed funding for medical research within Texas Instruments and used his corporate endorsements to facilitate increased funding for government research grants.

Beyond his remarkable technical achievements, Dr. Estevez is an advocate for the Hispanic community. He’s held leadership positions with both the Company’s Hispanic Employee Initiative Forum (HEIF) and the TI Diversity Network (TIDN). He continues to mentor and advise college students and lectures frequently at UT Dallas and UT Tyler.

He earned a bachelor of science, a master of science, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station, and a Master of Science degree in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Dr. Estevez is not a stranger to the HENAAC Conference, in 2002 he received the award for Most Promising Engineer and as forecasted, he returned in 2012 to receive the Outstanding Technical Achievement Award in Industry.

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