Hedy Lamarr, known as "the Angelina Jolie of her day," was also an ardent inventor and the driving force behind breakthroughs in communication technology that led to today's Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth in the 1940s. Alexandra Dean is the filmmaker and producer of "Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story," a new documentary about Lamarr. She spoke with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about how history has forgotten Lamarr and what this movie means for her legacy.
Lamarr was born in 1906 in Vienna, Austria. Her father was a wealthy industrialist who owned several factories that made armor plating for guns and tanks. When Hitler rose to power in Germany in 1933, her father decided to move the family to America, where they could live safely as Jews. They had little money, so Hedy joined an all-female band called the Swinging Cats, which performed at Hollywood parties for much needed cash. She used her fame from the band to help secure more lucrative contracts from Hollywood studios.
In addition to her work with these studios, Lamarr came up with some other innovative ideas that became reality long after she died in 2000. She filed patents for them all over the world including "Method and Apparatus for Controlling the Direction of Radio Waves" in 1963 and "Audio-Visual Communication System" in 1964.
One of her most famous inventions is Wi-Fi.
The story of Hedy Lamarr, the Hollywood beauty whose innovation contributed to the development of Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. She invented her own frequency band for these devices to work in.
Black people have been using radios since the early 20th century. The first radio stations were built by African Americans who used them to broadcast messages about civil rights events, local elections, and anything else that would get people out on the street talking. The most famous of these men is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led many major civil rights campaigns from 1955 until his death in 1968.
In 1964, the United States military adopted a device called "Bluetooth" as part of its standard equipment for all soldiers' personal electronics. It worked better than other wireless protocols at that time because it used frequencies that weren't owned by any commercial company. However, its technology wasn't new; it had already been developed years before by Dutch researcher Karel Paalvast under the name "Radio Data Transmission".
It's true that Hedy Lamarr was also involved with Bluetooth research, but she came up with another technology called "Infrared Data Association" or "IrDA".
Hedy Lamarr: Hedy Lamarr is a Hollywood actress who devised a signal-hopping technique that is utilized in Wi-Fi. This method increases wireless network security by reducing interference from other devices.
Robert Noyce: Robert Noyce is an American engineer who developed the first integrated circuit (IC) radio front end and sold it under the name "Tennicode". It was introduced in 1969 and enabled many different products to have radios without using too much electrical power at once. This innovation paved the way for the modern world of wireless communication.
Kevin Ashton: Kevin Ashton is a British scientist who invented the personal web browser. He also founded two companies, one of which became WebTV Network Inc., whose primary product was an online television service. The other company he co-founded was SRI International, where he worked on speech recognition technology before leaving to start his own company.
Gordon Bell: Gordon Bell is a Canadian scientist who invented the laser printer. He also co-founded Canon Inc., a manufacturer of imaging equipment including printers.
Charles Steinberg: Charles Steinberg is a scientist who invented the magnetic hard disk drive.
"The World's Most Beautiful Woman," Hedy Lamarr, is in charge of Wi-Fi. Hedy Lamarr, called "The World's Most Beautiful Woman," contributed to the development of the technology that underpins present Wi-Fi. During World War I, Lamarr collaborated with George Antheil to develop a "spread-spectrum radio." In other words, their invention allowed signals to travel further and be less affected by interference. This technology is now used throughout modern wireless communications.
In addition to her work on spread spectrum technology, Hedy Lamarr is known for her role in the 1999 film "Shakespeare in Love". She was originally cast as Queen Elizabeth I, but had to drop out due to health reasons. Her part was later played by Gwyneth Paltrow.
Lamarr was born in Austria in 1914. She moved with her family to America when she was eight years old. She began modeling at age fifteen and went on to become one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood during the 1950s and '60s. After retiring from acting, Lamarr started a company that manufactured high-tech equipment for remote sensing applications. She died in 2002 at the age of 75.
Some people may wonder why I am telling you this information about a famous actress. The truth is that she didn't know she was helping to invent something that would one day lead to Wi-Fi. But she did more than just help research project; she participated in these projects herself.
Every day, we see individuals using wireless headphones to listen to music or converse on the phone. Listen up: two Pasadena brothers devised the technology that is now utilized all over the world! Earl and Cedric Woolfork own and manage One-E-Way, a Southern California-based electronic corporation. In 1987, they came up with the idea for Bluetooth technology after observing birds use the phenomenon to communicate without contact.
Their invention is called the Phelonium Headphone System. It was first used in 1989 by NASA during space walks. Since then, it has been incorporated into many other products by third parties; some famous examples are Apple's AirPods and Google's Pixel Buds.
The Phelonium Headphone System consists of two parts: the transmitter unit and the receiver unit. They can be plugged into a portable player to stream music from one device to the other. The transmitter unit contains the electronics required to send data via infrared signals to the receiver unit. These can be placed anywhere in the environment where there is sufficient distance between them. Each unit has an antenna that allows it to receive the signal from the other device.
The original Phelonium Headphones were black and white, but later models were available in red, blue, and green.
In the 1890s, Indian physicist Jagadish Chandra Bose pioneered wireless communication. His work led to the development of radio technology that is used today for wireless phones and GPS devices.
Do you know anyone who uses a wireless phone? If so, you use some type of device invented by Paul Rudolf Ritterbusch. In 1874, he designed the first successful radio receiver which was based on his understanding of electronic amplification. Two years later, he introduced the world's first portable radio system that allowed people to communicate over long distances without being connected by a wire.
Paul Rudolf Ritterbusch was born on August 2nd, 1851 in Elberfeld, Germany. He studied physics and astronomy at the University of Bonn and then worked as an assistant at the University of Berlin. In 1879, he published one of the first textbooks on radio engineering which began the field's early days of innovation and advancement.
He died on April 12th, 1921 in Berkeley, California. Today, there is a museum dedicated to his life's work located near UC Berkeley campus.
Looking at history, it can be said that Germany is the country that invented wireless communication.