Monday, March 05, 2012

CBS News claims Hedy Lamarr invented Wi-Fi

CBS News reports about a book about the 40s actress Hedy Lamarr under a headline claiming that she invented Wi-Fi.  (They misspelled the term as "WiFi", by the way.)

There is credible evidence that Lamarr came up with the notion of frequency hopping.  Clever idea that has nothing to do with Wi-Fi.  In fact, the original incarnation of Wi-Fi shared spectrum with microwave ovens and home cordless phones.  My wife could jam my Wi-Fi connection by warming coffee or making a phone call.  IEEE 802.11b was very susceptible to interference.

Claiming Hedy Lamarr invented Wi-Fi is a nice glamorization.  She conceived frequency hopping, for which she deserves due credit. She did not invent Wi-Fi.  Even Isaac Newton said he stood on the shoulders of giants.