Friday, August 17

Blue Tooth, It's a Heady Invention

By Grant Davies

On this day (-6) in 1942, (that's Aug. 11th to the mathematically lazy among you) a patent was awarded for an idea that later turned into "spread-spectrum communication technology", which is used today in such devices as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network connections,as well as some cordless and wireless telephones.

The idea was originally proposed to be used in the war effort as a way to make submarine launched radio guided torpedoes difficult or impossible for the enemy to jam, or even detect. The concept was to switch frequencies rapidly and endlessly. Oddly, they called it "Frequency Hopping."

The inventors were George Antheil, a composer, and Hedy Kiesler Markey, an actress. At least that was her current name, she had quite a few in her life due to her six marriages. Her name at birth was Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, but today she is remembered by the name familiar to most, Hedy Lamarr.

That's right, this amazing idea was conceived by "The most beautiful woman in the world", as she was billed during her heyday. Not too many disputed that claim back then. She was a looker for sure. And as it turns out, smart as a whip.

Hedy originally became famous for a role she played in the 1933 Austrian movie "Ecstasy." That role required her to act out an orgasm with the camera trained on her face. In the same movie she ran through the woods naked. Frontal nudity was involved, and for the times, it was more than a little controversial. But for a beautiful woman with a knack for drama, it was just pretend. Her actual life had a lot more drama than most.

Her first husband was an armaments manufacturer, who although partially Jewish, consorted with Nazi industrialists. He was also prone to keep her locked up in his mansion while out trying to buy up every copy of the movie that made her famous. But he did teach her all about armaments and she was already a talented mathematician.

She had other ideas about her life so she hired a maid who resembled her, drugged her into unconsciousness, changed clothes with her, and slipped away. She escaped to Paris where she divorced the nut. A few stops later she ended up in America, adopted the country, changed her name, and became a huge star in Hollywood.

So the next time you use your high tech communication device, think about smart and beautiful women who run through the woods naked as a Blue Tooth, er, Blue Jay. 

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