Hedy Lamarr was a rare combination of beauty and brains

Imagine a Hollywood stunner coming up with an invention that has turned the world of communications on its head – a technology that has become the forerunner of today’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Not many of us may be aware that Wi-Fi technology is not as recent as is generally believed and can be traced to World War II.

Even more surprising is that the inventor was a top Hollywood beauty. Yes. The name Hedy Lamarr, the heroine of the epic Biblical movie, Samson and Delilah (1949), directed by the famous Cecil B. DeMille. She busted the myth that beauty and brains did not go together.

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Lamarr, born in a Jewish family in Austria, fled the country when Nazi Germany annexed it. She learned that Allied torpedoes were vulnerable to attacks by the Nazis who jammed their radio signals and rendered them ineffective. She worked with composer George Antheil to find a way to render the torpedoes immune to jamming by the enemy. They evolved a system known as frequency-hopping (FH) spread spectrum communication that would randomly switch to different radio frequencies to get around jamming. It could switch between one of 88 different frequencies for each of the 88 black and white keys on a piano.

Hedy Lamarr got a patent for the invention in 1942 under her married name Hedy Kiesler Markey. Her invention became a forerunner to today’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other wireless communication technologies, but was not used by the US until the Sixties. – Sourced from the Internet and New Scientist.

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