Hedy Lamarr: Actress and brilliant Inventor

She was born in Vienna and traveled to the United States to be a Hollywood star, and who spent the nights developing a system of frequency hopping communication. She was the inventor of a WiFi precursor.

She was cataloged as “the most beautiful woman in cinema’s history”, and one of the great stars of MGM. Trained in engineering, she was also a remarkable inventor who in the 40s contributed to what years later would be revealed as surprising: an innovation in telecommunications that anticipated WiFi and Bluetooth.

Lamarr achieved fame with her real name: Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, at age 16. This young woman of an illustrious Jewish family had been filmed in a highly provocative film and famous for capturing her in an orgasm in which a close-up of her face was seen: Ecstasy.

Her discoveries were unveiled by Forbes magazine in 1999. Four audio tapes were found in which she told everything.

She invented a remote transmission system that allowed guided torpedoes to be launched. Her greatest finding was to move from a single frequency to a radio control system that constantly changed them, so that it couldn’t be intercepted by Germans.

As a great patriot of the country that had welcomed her, she wanted to see Hitler dead, even though her first husband made her fortune with the Nazis. She flew to Washington and offered to continue helping. The Navy sent her a sarcastic letter in which she was recommended to “leave the torpedoes to the experts” and to help in some other way. Which she also did. Shee visited the troops and raised millions, but she didn’t stop her hobby of creating gadgets that showed the foundations of GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and military communication systems.

The creator of the first Army drones recognized her contributions in a letter that proudly shows her son. “She had many faces and I didn’t even understand them all,” she adds with pain.

In November 2015 the actress returned to fame thanks to Google Doodle. It was her birth’s 101st anniversary, but Google also wanted to remember her for her great contribution to telecommunications: a patent of 1942 entitled Secret Communication System. It was designed for torpedoed teleguiding. It was not considered by the “Navy”, which then had some other secret systems. The patent, however, came to light in the 50s and was signed by avant-garde composer George Antheil.

The ingenious trick was to emit the signals in different frequencies so that the communication was practically impossible to intercept. It’s a technology from which others such as Bluetooth derive directly, and from a broad point of view, also some essential aspects of WIFI and GPS.

Lamarr, a renaissance woman, had a drawing table at her house, in which she embodied her inventions. She was a woman of very high intelligence, whose relevance as an actress wasn’t enough for her.

This entry was originally posted at ‘Blog Retos Femeninos’

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Sylvia is a multi-award-winning communicator, publicist, lecturer and spokesperson for women’s rights in different national and international forums. As an entrepreneur, she is the founder of the strategy of comprehensive communication for Women’s Challenges, focused on the personal and professional growth of thousands of women, and the initiative Enough of violence against women, among others. From 2007 to date, it presents the “International Women’s Day” event at the CDMX, Monterrey, and Guadalajara and from 2018, every year, in a different city, to cover the Mexican Republic. She is an ambassador for Vital Voices for her work promoting women’s rights.

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