Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Thought for the day

Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid. Hedy Lamarr*

*Avant garde composer George Antheil, a son of German immigrants and neighbor of Lamarr, had experimented with automated control of instruments. Together, he and Lamarr submitted the idea of a Secret Communication System in June 1941. On 11 August 1942, U.S. Patent 2,292,387 was granted to Antheil and Hedy Kiesler Markey. This early version of frequency hopping used a piano roll to change between 88 frequencies and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam.

The idea was impractical, ahead of its time, and not feasible due to the state of mechanical technology in 1942. It was not implemented in the USA until 1962, when it was used by U.S. military ships during a blockade of Cuba,[4] after the patent had expired. Neither Lamarr nor Antheil (who died in 1959) made any money from the patent. Perhaps due to this lag in development, the patent was little-known until 1997, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Lamarr an award for this contribution.[1]

Lamarr's and Antheil's frequency-hopping idea serves as a basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology used in devices ranging from cordless telephones to WiFi Internet connections, namely CDMA.[5] Similar patents had been granted to others earlier, like in Germany in 1935 to Telefunken engineers Paul Kotowski and Kurt Dannehl who also received U.S. Patent 2,158,662 and U.S. Patent 2,211,132 in 1939 and 1940.

Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council, but she was told that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds. She once raised $7,000,000 at just one event.

Hedy Lamarr


Toby Wollin said...

Yep - the entire basis of today's wireless phone and internet technology is based on Hedy Lamarr's idea. When I told my boss about it, he almost dropped his teeth - but then, I found out later that he thought I was talking about Eartha Kitt (how can you mistake Eartha Kitt for Hedy Lamarr?). I'm not sure what Miss Lamarr would think of what we are going through with FISA and phone and internet privacy these days, but I think she would come up with another super idea to protect us all from being watched and listened in on.

Deja Pseu said...

Isn't it amazing? We've come a ways since then, but women today still reap greater rewards for beauty than for brains.