Though she was once dubbed the most beautiful woman in Hollywood, Hedy broke with convention and used her intelligence to develop the technology that became known as ‘frequency hopping.’
Hedy was a passionate opponent of the Nazis and wanted to contribute to the allied efforts toward victory. She got the idea of distributing torpedo guidance signals over several frequencies, thus protecting it from enemy jamming. She described her idea to composer George Antheil, and asked him to help her build the device.
Their collaboration was successful, and they were granted the patent for their ‘Secret Communication System,’ on June 10, 1941.
As often happens, Hedy’s brilliance was ahead of the times, and the government scoffed at her invention.
Twenty years later during the Cuban missile crisis, her invention was resurrected to ensure secure communications between naval ships.
With the emergence of digital technology, Hedy’s frequency hopping invention, now called ‘spread spectrum’ was implemented to protect the privacy of cell phone users.
So the next time you’re watching footage of an American victory, or talking to a friend on your cell phone, remember to thank a woman, thank Hedy Lamarr.