|Many years ago , on the eve of World War II,
a well-known actress of the day and my father, an avant-garde American
composer, while at a dinner party, thought up an interesting scheme to
control armed torpedoes over long distances without the enemy detecting
them or jamming their transmissions. While they had the foresight to patent
their invention, the term of the patent lapsed without either of them realizing
any money from their invention, which formed the basis of what was to later
become spread-spectrum communications.
This invention becomes even more incredible when you consider that it came before the invention of digital electronics.. however, it makes very substantial use of several key digital concepts.
Yes, the term "ahead of it's time" would apply here, because over 50 years later, as high-speed microprocessors become inexpensive, spread-spectrum communications- Hedy ' Lamarr ' and my father, George Antheils ' ' secret communications system ' - adapted to use today's ultrafast microprocessors- is coming into it's own as a effective and inexpensive way to communicate over long distances, privately and efficiently.
Spread-spectrum forms the basic principle that enables the simultaneous multi-channel operation of modern digital cellular telephony.
The same characteristics that made their technique jam-proof, also, through a mathematical phenomenon which can easily be documented , creates an extraordinary efficiency of transmission such that extremely low-power transmitters can be used over extraordinary distances, and many transmitters and receivers can occupy the same band of frequencies at the same time. This extrordinary efficiency is enabling inexpensive wireless access to high-bandwidth TCP-IP telecommunications, frequently radically altering the economics of setting up Internet-connected LANs for community organizations.
Here is the patent .
A drawing from the original disclosure document for the historic patent.
Here are several pages that offer information on these new technologies. Please forgive the 'work in progress' look of these pages, this web area is a part-time project.
Dave Hughes' Wireless Field Test pages. (Put your school on the Internet with NO-LICENSE, inexpensive spread-spectrum wireless.)
Note: Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil's invention of spread-spectrum has recently been awarded an EFF Pioneer award. (The nomination is here) This 'weblet' is a tribute to this interesting and significant technology and to the people who are using it.