Globe 100

Innovators | Technology

The go-to guy for the next big thing

Matt Coates, Invention Machine Corp.

Matt Coates, Invention Machine Corp.
Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff
Matt Coates, Invention Machine Corp.

THERE ARE THOSE who innovate, and then there’s Matt Coates, innovation consultant at Invention Machine Corp. in Boston. The company’s clients include such well-known brands as Boeing and Samsung.

Coates, 36, is a specialist in breakthrough ideas. Asked to build better glass for tablet computers such as Apple Inc.’s iPad, Coates developed a system that can recognize gestures in free space. A screen that is not touched means no more fingerprints.

In the last year, Coates has been constructing better tools for eye surgery; redesigning methods to extract heavy oil reserves; improving a critical design in heart valves; and developing a product for fresher breath.


This year, Coates is working on the causes of aging and treatments for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

An expectant father, he’s also bringing work home. “I’m going back to the drawing board,’’ he said, “to create a newfangled diaper.’’