How Hedy Lamarr invented Audience Response Radios
It was war time and they were looking for a way to make radio-guided torpedoes harder to detect and jam. Hedy Lammar, the 1940s movie star is in part responsible for the ability to use wireless ARS equipment. It began with Nikola Tesla and related to work that he did around the start of the 20th Century. (Tesla is probably best known for work that formed the basis of modern alternating current.)
Hedy Lamarr and scientist and composer George Antheil co-invented an early form of the spread spectrum technology. If knowing it was Hedy Lamarr was not enough to make this fascinating, the most wonderful part of the story is that they used a player piano roll to change among 88 radio frequencies. So we owe our ability to have wireless ARS systems in part to an actress, a composer-scientist, and a player piano roll.
Who could make up such a story? Hollywood only got as far as having Don Ameche invent the telephone. In 1939, Don Ameche portrayed Alexander Graham Bell in “The Story of Alexander Graham Bell.” Calling the telephone the “Don Ameche” became popular American Slang in the 1930s and ’40s.
Although Hedy did not have a movie made about her scientific work, in fairness to her spread spectrum radios should have been called the “Hedy Lamarr”.
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After graduating from New York University with a degree in Communications, Alan attended the New School for Social Research, Graduate School at N.Y.U. and the Master’s Program in Cinema at U.C.L.A. Following his service in the U.S. Army, Alan was employed by Doyle, Dane and Burnbach Advertising Agency. He worked in the U.S. and Europe in the feature motion picture production business. He was employed by Quick Tally Interactive Systems for one year prior to acquiring the company. He has owned and run the company for almost three decades and has pioneered in the manufacturing of ARS equipment and providing interactive event services. In addition to US State and Federal Government Agencies, America’s leading companies, associations and television networks, he has also worked for events clients in the EU, New Zealand, Hong Kong Thailand and Dubai.