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Women’s History Month – Hedy Lamar

Women’s History Month – Hedy Lamar

Most people know Hedy Lamar as an Austrian-born American actress and film producer who appeared in 30 films over her 28-year career. But Lamar was also a pioneer in the field of wireless communications who, with co-inventor and composer George Anthiel, developed a “Secret Communications System” to help combat the Nazis in World War II.

While married to first husband Friedrich Mandle, an arms manufacturer, Lamar learned about military technology as he forced her to attend meetings with technicians and business partners. Later she used this knowledge to create a new method of “frequency hopping,” a technique for disguising radio transmissions by making the signal jump between different channels in a prearranged pattern.

Initially the U.S. Navy ignored their findings. Years later, other inventors recognized Lamar’s groundbreaking work and further developed this precursor to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless technologies we use today in smart phones and computers.

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