In pictures: The unsung women of technology

Sure, you've heard of Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper. But how about Frances Allen, Deborah Estrin or Radia Perlman?

In pictures: The unsung women of technology prev next


Hedy Lamarr: Frequency hopping discoverer

Best known as a movie star from the 1930s through the 1950s, Hedy Lamarr helped develop the technology underlying wireless phones, wireless Internet and GPS systems.

Lamarr and her neighbor, George Antheil, developed the idea during World War II when it became evident that the enemy could interfere with signals of radio-controlled torpedoes. Her solution: Change the frequency of the control signal and the torpedo at intervals so that they could communicate with each other, but so enemy forces couldn’t obstruct the signals.

Lamarr and Antheil patented their invention in 1942 and gave it to the U.S. military. Though the technology was never implemented on torpedoes, the U.S. used it during the Cuban Missile Crisis to ensure secure communication among ships.

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In pictures: The unsung women of technology

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