Could Early Hollywood Have Created GPS?
Could Early Hollywood Have Created GPS?

Could Hedy Lamarr have had a hand in creating GPS technology? Once we scratch the surface, it does appear that Ms. Lamarr may have had some hand in developing the science that lead to GPS.

The years between 1930 and 1959 are widely considered to be Hollywood’s “Golden Age”. Studios made glamorous stars out of people like Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth. It does seems farfetched that one of these sophisticated actors and actresses had an influence that would reach all the way to our high-tech times, but it appears to be true.

In an era that had its fair share of desirable women, Austrian-born actress Hedy Lamarr was considered by many to be the most beautiful. Her exotic dark looks led to roles in films that were relatively provocative for those conservative times. What is not so well known about Ms. Lamarr is that she helped invent the technology that led to today’s wireless gadgets, including global positioning systems.

Before you write this story off as being along the lines of Al Gore’s invention of the Internet, consider the facts. According to Richard Rhodes, author of the biography “Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World,” the actress began showing a propensity for science as a young girl. She was encouraged by her banker father to develop this unusual interest.

Her first marriage allowed the opportunity to indulge her hobby on a greater level. Husband Fritz Mandl was a munitions manufacturer who had Ms. Lamarr accompany him to meetings with scientists and other personnel involved in military technology. After she moved to Hollywood, instead of attending parties and premieres she chose to spend time working at an inventor’s desk she set up in her home.

In 1940 Ms. Lamarr met avant-garde composer George Antheil through mutual friends. She was fiercely loyal to her adopted country and wanted to assist in wartime efforts. Together the two came up with a system of frequency-hopping to prevent enemies from jamming the controls of weapons such as radio-controlled torpedoes. Though they were awarded a patent for this technology at that time, it didn’t become widely used until 1962. Unfortunately due to the delay in implementation, Ms. Lamarr’s contributions were largely forgotten.

We at GPSTrackIt applaud Hedy Lamarr for her foresight and progressive thinking. You will too when you experience the benefits of this cutting-edge system that is now used for fleet vehicle tracking.