The Woman Who Invented Wi-Fi

New York Culture

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I have always said that the Internet is one of the humans' best inventions ever created. But have you ever wondered who we have to thank for such inventions? In particular, do you know who came up with the idea of Wi-Fi? It's one thing to have Internet, but it's a different one to get wireless access.

I want to introduce you to the Austrian-American woman who created the technology we use for Wi-Fi today.

Meet Hedy Lamarr

The woman credited for creating technology that was later used to make Wi-Fi happen is Hedy Lamarr. She was born in 1914 and lived a long life until 2000, and she's the "mother" of modern-day Wi-Fi.

Hedy wasn't a scientist. In fact, her career was on the artistic side: Lamarr was an actress. Born in Vienna, she married an Austrian musicians dealer Fritz Mandl at the age of 19. Unfortunately, Hedy was unhappy in her marriage due to Fritz's controlling nature and his ties Nazis. In 1937, the girl fled to London and the United States shortly after, where she started getting jobs in Hollywood thanks to her talent and mysterious accent.

But Hedy has always had a curious mind. She was an inventor. Who said a lady couldn't be beautiful, talented and smart? In 1940, she met a new friend, George Antheil, and both of them started working on an invention to help the Americans, Brits and others in WWII against the Nazis.

The New Invention

The concept Hedy and George came up with was pretty simple:

1. It was a new communication system that could be used by guiding torpedoes to their targets in war.

2. The system used “frequency hopping” amongst radio waves, with both transmitter and receiver hopping. The intent was to catch new frequencies together.

3. Such practice prevented the interception of the radio waves and allowed the torpedo to find its intended target.

Hedy and her friend filed for a patent and offered their invention to the military. Patent No. 2,292,387 was awarded; however, the military wasn't interested in the new technology. It wasn't recognized until 1958, and we started using Lamarr's frequency-hopping technology much later.

After her death, Hedy Lamarr was recognized at the National Inventors Hall of Fame and dubbed "the mother of Wi-Fi."

*This article is a part of HerStory March series on Newsbreak

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