4. Technology

Hedy lamarr would often sit in one room in her house that she was often found in using her drafting table and tools working on new inventions and ideas she had. She also had a wall full of engineering reference books that she often used (CBS News, 2012). When she was married to her first husband she would sit in meetings about military weapons and technology and used that knowledge with some of her inventions.

Frequency Hopping

Hedy Lamarr and George Anthiel developed a secret communication system together to help with the Nazies during World War II. According to the Famous Scientists article, Hedi’s technology allowed her to, “Manipulate the radio frequencies at irregular intervals between the transmission and the reception” (Famous Scientists, 2015). This allowed the user to block anyone trying to intercept any messages that were being sent through the radio waves.  This secret communication system used mechanics that are similar to a piano. The sender and receiver were able to control the switches and they were able to keep a constant connection without enemies getting access. Compared to other communication blocking systems Lamarrs had random sequence with different patterns which made it much more difficult for the enemy to interpret the signal. Lamarr had gotten a paten for her invention in 1941(Famous Women Inventors, 2008). She then took it to the Navy and showed them how it worked and described how it can stop any potential enemy to hear classified messages. The Navy put it on the shelf and did not take it seriously because Hedy was a movie Star and was told to keep raising money for the war and be a beautiful girl. It was not until many other male inventors (after Lamarr’s paten expired) began working with frequency hopping that the Government began to get on board. In 1962 the military began using this technology for Cuban blockade (Famous Scientist, 2015). The navy began using Lamarr’s invention and it worked great. Lamarr sat on the outside and watched everyone else get credit for her frequency hopping until 1997 when she got awarded the Pioneer Award (Famous Women Inventors, 2008). The following image is Hedy lamarr’s draft of the secret communication system. Frequency hopping is still being used till this day. The same technology is being used in GPS’s, WIFI, fax machines, wireless phones, and military communication systems (CBS News, 2012).

Hedy Lamarr's original draft of the secret communication. © The Atlantic 2010
Hedy Lamarr’s original draft of the secret communication. © The Atlantic 2010
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