On August 11, 1942, exactly seventy-one years ago, US Patent 2,292,387 on wireless communication was granted to a brilliant inventor, and also Hollywood’s most beautiful legendary actress, Hedy Lamarr.
Today, on 71st anniversary of the Wireless Communication Patent grant, we respectfully salute Hedy Lamarr, for her visionary invention that has truly laid the solid foundation of today’s wireless communication – based on the same concept of frequency-hopping and/or spread-spectrum communication. In my view, Hedy Lamarr is one of the unique combinations of beauty and brain in the world of Science.
In this post, I have provided the images of Hedy Lamarr’s original drawings and patent, along with some of the interesting & insightful quotes by Hedy Lamarr, which Readers & Followers may find interesting.
Massachusetts, Sunday Morning, August 11, 2013.
Hedy Lamarr was Austrian-born American actress, brilliant physicist and talented mathematician. She was very well-known for her stunningly exceptional beauty, and was often considered “the most beautiful woman in the world” – with “strikingly dark exotic looks” as described during 1940’s by Max Reinhardt, famous Austrian-American Film and Stage Director, who had taught acting to Hedy in Berlin.
Hedy Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria, as the only child in a wealthy Austrian family, nearly 100 years ago. Hedy Kiesler was mathematically inclined since childhood, and spent almost every evening studying and working on her inventions after her daily routine as Hedy Lamarr, an actress from Hollywood. Hedy’s life story was surely stranger than any fiction or the stories used in Hollywood movies. Nonetheless, what amazes many scientists, even today, is the fact that Hedy was well ahead in time in regards to her invention of secret wireless communication (US Patent # 2,292,387, granted on August 11, 1942).
With her strong dislike towards Hitler and World War II, Hedy presented her invention, disclosing the novel concept of frequency-hopping secret wireless communication, to the U.S. Navy. Her intended application was to make radio-guided torpedoes that Germans will not be able to either detect or jam, thus bringing the war to an end with victory to USA. However, U.S. Navy treated Hedy’s invention with negativity and skepticism, and did not use it at all during World War II. Hedy was surely ahead in time, at that time; because exactly twenty years later (and three years after the expiry of US Patent), Hedy’s invention was used successfully by U.S. military ships during the blockade of Cuba in 1962. Since the turn of 20th century till to date, Hedy’s frequency-hopping wireless communication invention has become the solid foundation for latest spread-spectrum communication technology, which is implemented in cell phones, cordless phones, Bluetooth, COFDM, Wi-Fi, and GPS communications.
Now few words about Hedy Lamarr’s inventive concept and its reducing to practice as demonstrated in her patent: The concept of Radio Control was not at all novel even then, although Hedy’s frequency-hopping strategy was. Hedy’s co-inventor, for her invention on wireless communication using frequency-hopping, was George Antheil, American music composer and Hedy’s neighbor in Hollywood. Hedy Lamarr’s novel inventive concept was complemented by Antheil’s innovative contribution leading to the device that could effectively achieve the synchronization in radio control by frequency-hopping. Lamarr and Antheil proposed that rapid changes in radio frequencies could be coördinated the way Antheil had previously coördinated the sixteen synchronized player pianos in his Ballet Méanique. Their original invention used slotted paper rolls similar to player-piano rolls to synchronize the frequency changes in transmitter and receiver, and it even called for exactly eighty-eight frequencies, the number of keys on a piano. The schematic above, as presented by Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil in the US patent, shows the synchronization device and in sync coordination of frequency-hopping. Any scientist or inventor should find this invention totally fascinating, for it involves the creativity and meeting of minds of two experts – from distant and distinct disciplines. An awesome meeting of great minds indeed!
Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil, after being neglected by the U.S. Navy, did not pursue their invention further. However in 1957, the concept was picked up by engineers at the Sylvania Electronic Systems Division, New York. Their prototype involved electronics and not piano rolls, and ultimately became the basic tool for secured military communications, and was installed on ships sent to blockade Cuba in 1962. Subsequent patents in frequency changing and modern spread-spectrum communication technology based devices, always reference to the Lamarr-Antheil patent (US # 2,292,387) as the basis of their new inventions – even today. Hence Hedy Lamarr is considered as the “Wireless Goddess”, because of her significant pioneering research and invention contribution in the field of wireless communication.
Here is one interesting video link (from CBS) that describes Hedy Lamarr’s invention and the significant role it plays in modern wireless world.
Hedy Lamarr was surely the most beautiful woman in the world by day, and the genius inventor by night. Hedy was the Wireless Goddess on Earth – with unique and amazing combination of Beauty & Brains. May God rest her soul in peace.
Dear Readers & Followers:
I am pleased to share some of the Greatest Insightful Quotes by Hedy Lamarr,.
dshenai.wordpress.com © 2013
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