Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler (Hedy Lamarr)
Spread spectrum frequency hopping synchronizes devices to speak over changing frequencies. The technology jumps from one frequency to another in a predetermined but predictable manner so that the sender and recipient can change simultaneously.
Lamarr and Antheil created the technology to contribute to the WWII effort, though it remains unclear if it was ever used during that time.
In 1941, Austrian born Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr worked with composer George Antheil to create a new wireless transmission method. Eventually, they created and patented a system to spread communications amongst different frequencies, jumping from one frequency to another seamlessly.
Up to the present time Lamarr’s innovation, which she never profited from, has enabled countless technologies.
Her innovation became useful long after her death. Mobile phones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and wireless technologies used in the military all depend on spread spectrum technology. Unless you are reading this via a printout or wired device, you are using Lamarr’s technology right now.
Lamarr is one of the early movie stars. Born in Austria, she married then divorced munitions dealer Fritz Mandl, who sold weapons to the Nazis, then fled to the United States. “I was like a doll. I was like a thing, some object of art which had to be guarded — and imprisoned — having no mind, no life of its own,” she said, describing an independent streak atypical at the time.
Lamarr was already relatively well-known in the film world due to her early movies, the most notable being the Czech film Ecstasy. She was the first known actress to appear nude in a film.
Despite her reputation as a “bombshell,” Lamar proved herself both brilliant and beautiful. Without a doubt, Lamarr proved herself to be one of the most significant wireless scientists and arguably one of the most prominent women inventors.