Vince Mahe, the engineer behind the hands-free liftgate, was born in France and moved to the United States when he was 10. All around the world, Mahe noticed people often have their hands full. So Mahe and team engineered a way for people to open the liftgate of the all-new Escape with a simple kicking motion under the rear bumper.There is also a series of new IBM commercials (can't find the videos online) where an IBM researcher walks into the frame of a commercial and says something like "I'm so-and-so and I'm an IBMer helping you analyze data to target your customers".
Wasn't long ago that companies hid their scientists and engineers, only selling the product. We're seeing a new time where engineers and scientists tackling societal problems, big and small, are more forefront and center. Not since the 60's has it been this cool to be a geek.