Hollywood Screen Legend Invented Technology Behind WiFi, New Documentary Says

Love your wifi and your Bluetooth? If so, you might have this Hollywood silver screen starlet to thank for it. A new documentary about her life, her contributions to film and more says that she co-founded the invention that led to our modern technology.

Hedy Lamarr, one of the biggest stars in Hollywood from the 1930's to the 1950's, thought she was cursed by her beauty. Because of her stunning face and raven tresses, people didn't take her seriously.

"Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid," she said in 1962 in an interview.

But there was much more to the Austrian-born beauty than just looks. If you didn't know that, you might want to check out the documentary, "Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story."

Actress Susan Sarandon was executive producer of the film, which is appearing as part of the Jewish Film Festival in London this month, and which will hit select theaters in New York City later this month. The documentary takes a look at Lamarr's 35 films, including the infamous film she made at just 17 years old in which she depicts the first female orgasm - at least, the first that was not in a porn flick.

The scene may seem extremely tame by today’s standards. A woman being kissed and cuddled by her lover throws her head back in ecstasy and drops her pearls. There’s no groaning, no grinding or groping, and no nudity, but it’s pretty clear by her face what’s happening. In 1933, it was positively scandalous.

Another key focus of the documentary is not just Lamarr's film contributions, but her contribution to science and technology. Lamarr was a co-developer of a radio frequency for scrambling military messages. It seems Lamarr's favorite pastime when she wasn't filming her latest movie was creating weapons communications systems for the U.S. Navy.

The technology she helped develop was what she called 'frequency hopping' technology. It helped prevent Germans from jamming radio signals. That technology was the basis for later technologies, which eventually became the wifi that is part of our daily lives.

She developed the technology with composer George Antheil, and the two came up with a scrambling system based on the idea behind 88 keys on the piano. The two had their invention patented in 1942, though it wasn't implemented until the 1960s.

The story of this technological breakthrough is told through never before heard interview tapes. The actress did an interview with Forbes Magazine in 1990, and she revealed her big contribution to society that has otherwise gone unnoticed.

“Inventions are easy for me to do. I suppose I just came from a different planet,” Lamarr said.

Lamarr continued to be an inventor until the end of her life. She passed away in 2000 at the age of 85, and one of the last inventions she came up with was a pocket on the side of tissue boxes so that you could stuff the used tissues in there. Clearly, the woman was a genius.

Source: New York Post
Photo: YouTube

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