Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria
Kiesler (November 9, 1914 – January 19, 2000) was an Austrian-American actress,
inventor, and film producer. Her acting career spanned 28 years and she
co-invented an early version of frequency-hopping spread spectrum. This
invention became the precursor for modern wi-fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, now used
widely all over the world.
This “Secret Communications
System” was developed by Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil during the
beginning of World War II as a means of guidance for Allied torpedoes that
would be immune to the threat of jamming by the Axis powers. It would achieve
this by changing radio frequencies. They patented this technology in 1942.
While never used during the war,
this invention became an important step in the development of technology to
maintain the security of both military communications and cellular phones later
on. Sadly, Lamarr never received the notoriety or compensation she deserved for
her brilliant ideas. Her estate has never received a single penny for her
patent. It was not even until 2014 that Lamarr was posthumously inducted into
the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
“The brains of people are more
interesting than the looks I think” Hedy Lamarr (1990). I agree.
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