February 2, 2016

Inventor of Wi-Fi Technology – Austrian Actress Hedy Lamarr

Wireless networks have become most common at workplaces for business and home-based works. Usage of wireless networks is robust and at the same time, it is not highly secured. But, have you ever thought about its invention? Do you actually know the inventor of Wi-Fi? An essential component that has become a part of our life is Wi-Fi, the modern technology that assists people in bounteous ways. The modern technology which we are using currently was not invented by a skilled scientist or by some university.

Wi-Fi was invented by an Austrian actress. Surprising, right? You heard it correctly. The inventor of the modern technology is Wi-Fi which has now become the vital element for every person. Hedy Lamarr was once described as “the most beautiful woman in the world”. She was an Austrian actress who then turned as an inventor and she is behind the modern technology Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, that we’re enjoying now.

Hedy Lamarr – Actress Turned Out to be an Inventor

Hollywood is a haven where folks are often acknowledged a lot for their appearance than their skills and actress Hedy Lamarr was no exception. But, she invented an amazing thing in her leisure time to help end a war that has history spinning a kinder eye, connecting her to a bombshell of a completely different kind.

Hedy-Lamarr-Inventor of Wi-Fi

Hedy Lamarr owned the sort of appeal and charm that was haunting. It was an almost smoldering desire, with an outlandish accent to harmonize. She was once entitled “the most beautiful woman in the world.” Despite her name, Hedy Lamarr sounded dark and mysterious, she shared the screen with Hollywood legends like Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, and Jimmy Stewart, people rarely remember Hedy’s talent. Check out below why the most beautiful actress turned out to an inventor of the most useful technology.

Childhood – Early Life

Hedy Lamarr was born in 1914 in Vienna. In the year 1920, she completed her training in theater and began working as a script girl in the film industry and later became an actress. Her father was born to a Jewish family in Lemberg (Ukraine) who was a prosperous bank director. Hedy Lamarr’s mother was a pianist and Budapest resident who was grown up from an upper-class Jewish family.

Hollywood Actress

Lamarr was one of the most popular actresses between the late 1930s and 1950s and she starred in many Hollywood films with popular actors like Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, and Jimmy Stewart. Some of her famous films include Algiers in 1938, I Take This Woman in 1940, Comrade X in 1940), Come Live With Me in 1941, among others.


Hedy Lamarr has another side which is the intellectual side that had it turned out, it might have been the blueprint for her victory considerably behind Hollywood. Lamarr wasn’t just recognized for her gorgeous look, she has intelligence as well. It was actually the idea of Hedy Lamarr to develop a secret communications system which is particularly one that could guide a weapon using a technology called “frequency hopping” so that signal couldn’t be intercepted.

Hedy Lamarr Invention

She worked with avant-garde composer George Antheil on the idea of frequency hopping spread-spectrum. She had the view of helping Allied war which led her to start developing spread spectrum and created some technology what we are now using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

During her first marriage to Austrian military arms merchant Friedrich Mandl, she acquired an interest in applied sciences. She developed a concept that helped to create Bluetooth and some other components of modern wireless networks. One can find the principles she developed in modern technologies.

“Any girl can be glamorous, all you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”

-Hedy Lamarr

“What? A Hollywood star? What was she doing inventing some piece of electrical engineering?” This way some of them discouraged and criticized her inventions. But those inventions led to the most popular and modern Wi-Fi technology.

Accompanying with composer George Antheil, Lamarr desired to contribute to the war against Nazism by developing a jam-proof radio guidance system for torpedoes. They developed a new frequency-hopping-spread-spectrum technology. The device actually worked likewise a piano roll, was patented in 1942, albeit it was never utilized by the military.

Austrian Actress Invents Control Device

Though her invention was not employed in World War II, by the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, her frequency hopping technology was installed in US naval vessels. More importantly, the invention of Lamarr and Antheil paved the way for today’s spread-spectrum communications technology, which includes GPS, Bluetooth, cell phones and Wi-Fi networks.

Lamarr Invention led to Wi-fi technology

The patent of Lamarr and Antheil’s invention.

Their contribution was awarded only much later in Lamarr’s life. In 1997, they received the EFF Pioneer Award (posthumously for Antheil) for making a notable contribution to computer sciences, while they were also both belatedly entered into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the year 2014.

Later Life

Lamarr was also asked to use her celebrity status to sell war bonds. Apart from developing spread spectrum, Lamarr also made some other inventions that include improved traffic stoplight and a tablet that dissolves in water to form a carbonated drink. Though her inventions might be unsuccessful, Lamaar is an inventor. Unfortunately, people remember Lamaar for her beauty and not for her inventions.

At the age of 85, Lamarr died in Casselberry, Florida. Google created a Doodle to celebrate her 101st birth anniversary which tries to encompass the whole journey of how she lived as a celebrity during the day and spent night inventing new principles to help during the World War 2. Thanks to Hedy Lamarr for being a part of developing modern technology which has now become our part of life.

About the author 

Imran Uddin

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