Hedy Lamarr

Topics: Hedy Lamarr, Cuban Missile Crisis, Invention Pages: 2 (544 words) Published: March 30, 2013
Now I wish to talk about barriers that women amateurs face in working in science and technology. Lamarr is a great example of how an amateur can both overcome and be stopped by barriers. Just a little background info, Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian –American actress who was also known to be the most beautiful woman in Hollywood in her time. You might think what does she have to do with what have been said before this. Well, she was the brains who basically started it all, the spread-spectrum technology which enabled Wi-Fi and cellular networks to be available to us today!

Lamarr knew about a real problem. It was during World War 2 when she thought, how can one safely control a torpedo with a radio signal? This was important, since torpedoes were not very accurate and the ability to remotely control them could be immensely valuable. The difficulty in using a radio signal to control a torpedo is essentially the problem of jamming. If you tried to control your torpedo by a signal, eventually the enemy will find out the frequency you are using. Once this is known they could jam your control signal by putting out a strong noise signal on the given frequency.

Lamarr had a solution. Her brilliant idea was to use frequency hopping—her invention. Lamarr also found a co-inventor, George Antheil, who was also an avant-garde composer, who laid out a system based on 88 frequencies, corresponding to the number of keys on a piano, using perforated paper rolls which would turn in sync with one another, transmitting and receiving ever-changing frequencies, preventing interception and jamming. They then submitted the frequency hopping device to the national inventors council where they went on to file a patent application.

Unfortunately, she did not succeed to release this idea to help during the war. There were other priorities faced by the US military, along with the decreasing number of resources that were being used to make other equipments and atomic bombs. Also, she...
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