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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