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Glamorous Film Actress Hedy Lamarr Invents Spread-Sprectrum

Hedy Lamarr Publicity Photo for The Heavenly Body 1944

Hedy Lamarr publicity photo for the film The Heavenly Body, 1944.

In 1940 Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr and her neighbor, avant-garde composer George Antheil, invented “frequency-hopping” transmission, now called spread-spectrum. The following year Lamarr patented "frequency-hopping" under her then-married name of H. K. Markey, and assigned the patent to the U.S. Government. This early version of frequency hopping used a piano-roll to change between 88 frequencies, and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or jam.

♦ In 2011 historian and writer Richard Rhodes told this unusual story in detail in Hedy's Folly. The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World.

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