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Although better known as an actress, Austrian Hedy Lammar (born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler) was also an influential female inventor.
Hoping to help combat the Nazis in World War II, Lamar and co-inventor George Anthiel developed a “Secret Communications System” that manipulated radio frequencies at irregular intervals between transmission and reception. The resulting unbreakable code prevented classified messages from being intercepted. The “spread spectrum” technology that Lammar helped to invent influenced the digital communications boom, forming the technical backbone that makes possible cellular phones, fax machines and other wireless operations.
Despite receiving very little recognition at the time, Lammar recently has been showered with such prestigious accolades as the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award and the BULBIE™ Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, making her one of the most decorated women inventors of the past century.