30 Nov 2020

Meet Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Maria Eva Kiesler, is the bright mind behind some of the most frequently used technologies today. Throughout her 28-year acting career, Hedy starred in over 30 movies in Hollywood. Despite these successes being widely known, her scientific discoveries have been less acknowledged and celebrated.

With thanks to her inspiring father, at age 5 Hedy could take her music box apart and put it back together to understand its inner workings. Whilst her innovation and curiosity were inspired from such a young age, it also followed her throughout her entire life. Whilst dating Howard Hughes, a noted pilot and engineer, Hedy analysed the wings and fins of the fastest animals to help design Hughes’s planes. She also created a fizzy cube that dissolved in a drink to produce a carbonated beverage, as well as an upgraded traffic light system.

Her most well-known invention may perhaps be her frequency hopping system which she worked on with Antheil. Back during World War II, this system was invented by Lamarr to prevent enemies from detecting the messages sent from radio-controlled missiles, this way they couldn’t be blocked. It meant that the receiver and transmitter both hopped to the same frequencies together and interception was impossible.

Since this time, Hedy’s invention of the frequency hopping system has been downsized and technologically advanced to produce mobile phones and other amenities. Due to the invention being the cornerstone of wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi, Hedy is now known as the Mother of Wi-Fi, and she will always be remembered as a wonderful actress and STEM role model.

Last updated in November 2020

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