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Next time you are using Wi-Fi on your cellphone, or connected to a 4G LTE signal, keep in mind that the person you need to thank for these innovations is an actress who received a patent in 1942 for "spread spectrum technology" that is currently used in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 4G LTE technology. The actress was born in Austria as Hedwig Kiesler and you might know her as Hedy Lamarr.

 

Besides her talents as an actress, Lamarr happened to be born with an incredible mind. After marrying one of the richest men in Austria, Friedrich Mandl, she would end up at her husband's side as he would have dinner with men like Hitler and Mussolini. Mandl was the largest arms manufacturer in Austria and the topic at the dinner table would sometimes revolve around radio-controlled missiles and torpedoes.

 

While pretending to be bored at these dinners, Lamarr actually soaked up the information. After running off to America, she became one of the country's biggest movie stars toiling for MGM during the 1940's. But at the same time, she developed a wireless communication system that couldn't be jammed. Her goal was to help the Allies defeat the Nazis. Back then, most wireless systems used one frequency which made it easy to block. The actress came up with a way for the message to be sent over another frequency if the original one was jammed. "Frequency hopping" was the term that was used to describe the technology.

 

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