87. Joseph Coughlin

Director of MIT’s AgeLab

Making aging less of a drag is Joseph Coughlin’s mission–and with some 80,000 Americans turning 60 each day, it’s a more pressing task than ever. Coughlin, 47, runs the first multidisciplinary research lab devoted to using smart technology to bolster older folks’ quality of life. It’s already having an effect: The lab’s work is behind BMW’s redesign of the controls on some of its higher-end sedans and Procter & Gamble’s “personal adviser,” a simple device mounted on a shopping cart that helps people select groceries based on their dietary requirements. — by Kate Rockwood