Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window. – Steve Wozniak
1860 – Ottó Bláthy, Hungarian engineer and chess player is born.
Ottó Titusz Bláthy was a Hungarian electrical engineer. In his career, he became the co-inventor of the modern electric transformer, the tension regulator, (voltage stabilizer), the AC watt-hour meter, motor capacitor for the single-phase (AC) electric motors, the turbo generator, and the high efficiency turbo generator.
Ottó Titusz’s career as an inventor began during his time at the Ganz Works in 1883. It is noteworthy, that the name “transformer” was created by Ottó Titusz Bláthy. There, he conducted experiments for creating a transformer. In 1885 the ZBD model alternating-current transformer was invented by three Hungarian engineers: Ottó Bláthy, Miksa Déri and Károly Zipernowsky. (ZBD comes from the initials of their names). In the autumn of 1889 he patented the AC watt-meter.
1942 – Actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil receive a patent for a Frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system that later became the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi.
Lamarr’s reputation as an inventor is based on her co-creation of a frequency-hopping system with George Antheil, an avant garde composer and neighbor of Lamarr in California. During World War II, Lamarr was inspired to contribute to the war effort, and focused her efforts on countering torpedoes. In her home, explains author Richard Rhodes during an interview on CBS, she devoted a room to drafting her designs for frequency-hopping.
Lamarr and Antheil discussed the fact that radio-controlled torpedoes, while important in the naval war, could easily be jammed by broadcasting interference at the frequency of the control signal, causing the torpedo to go off course. Lamarr had learned something about torpedoes during her marriage to Mandl. Lamarr and Antheil developed the idea of using frequency hopping to avoid jamming. This was achieved by using a piano roll to unpredictably change the signal sent between a control center and the torpedo at short bursts within a range of 88 frequencies in the radio-frequency spectrum (there are 88 black and white keys on a piano keyboard).
The specific code for the sequence of frequencies would be held identically by the controlling ship and in the torpedo. It would be practically impossible for the enemy to scan and jam all 88 frequencies, as computation this complex would require too much power. The frequency-hopping sequence was controlled by a player-piano mechanism, which Antheil had earlier used to score his Ballet Mécanique.
On 11 August 1942, U.S. Patent 2,292,387 was granted to Hedy Kiesler Markey, Lamarr’s married name at the time, and George Antheil. This early version of frequency hopping, although novel, soon was met with opposition from the U.S. Navy and was not adopted. The idea was not implemented in the U.S. until 1962, when it was used by U.S. military ships during a blockade of Cuba after the patent had expired. Lamarr’s work was honored in 1997, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave her a belated award for her contributions. In 1998, an Ottawa wireless technology developer, Wi-LAN Inc., acquired a 49% claim to the patent from Lamarr for an undisclosed amount of stock.
Lamarr’s and Antheil’s frequency-hopping idea served as a basis for modern spread-spectrum communication technology, such as Bluetooth, COFDM (used in Wi-Fi network connections), and CDMA (used in some cordless and wireless telephones). Blackwell, Martin, and Vernam’s 1920 patent seems to lay the communications groundwork for Lamarr and Antheil’s patent, which employed the techniques in the autonomous control of torpedoes.
1950 – Steve Wozniak, American computer scientist and programmer, co-founded Apple Inc. is born.
Stephen (or Stephan) Gary “Steve” Wozniak, known as “Woz”, is an American pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s (along with Apple Computer co-founder, Steve Jobs). Wozniak is an American inventor, electronics engineer, and computer programmer who single-handedly developed the 1976 Apple I, the computer that launched Apple. He primarily designed the 1977 Apple II, but Jobs oversaw the development of its unusual case and Rod Holt developed the unique power supply.
1962 – Vostok 3 launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev becomes the first person to float in microgravity.
Vostok 3 (Russian: Восток-3, Orient 3 or East 3) was a spaceflight of the Soviet space program intended to determine the ability of the human body to function in conditions of weightlessness and test the endurance of the Vostok 3KA spacecraft over longer flights. Cosmonaut Andriyan Nikolayev orbited the Earth 64 times over nearly four days in space, August 11–15, 1962, a feat which would not be matched by NASA until the Gemini program (1965–1966).
Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 were launched a day apart on trajectories that brought the spacecraft within approximately 6.5 km (4.0 mi) of one another. The cosmonauts aboard the two capsules also communicated with each other via radio, the first ship-to-ship communications in space. These missions marked the first time that more than one manned spacecraft was in orbit at the same time, giving Soviet mission controllers the opportunity to learn to manage this scenario.