International Women’s Day: female technology pioneers are behind many inventions

International Women's Day: female technology pioneers are behind many inventions

 

March 8 is International Women’s Day. This year it is under the motto “Break the Bias”, which translates as something like: “Away with the prejudices”. […]

March 8 is International Women’s Day. This year it is under the motto “Break the Bias”, which translates as something like: “Away with the prejudices”. For example, women have difficulties with technology. What is hardly known: women are behind many technical inventions that have long been part of everyday life or facilitate it. From computer language to communication technology to home security cameras, without the genius and flashes of ingenuity of inventors, computers and technical devices would look different today.

Ada Lovelace laid the foundation for today’s apps and websites in the mid-19th century. She developed an algorithm with the help of which it was possible to calculate Bernoulli numbers and which is considered the first computer program at all – although, of course, there was no computer at the time of her life.

Another technology pioneer who was also far ahead of her time was Hedy Lamarr. The actress invented a remote radio control for torpedoes in the early 1940s. The so-called frequency hopping method used for this is the basis for numerous wireless technologies such as WiFi and GPS and is still used today for Bluetooth connections.

In 1953, Dr. Grace Hopper developed the first compiler that converted man-made input into machine code. Initially, the program was supposed to be used in enterprises to draw up payslips. Their work eventually led to the development of a universal computer language.

Marie van Brittan Brown has made a contribution to the safety of private households. Together with her husband, she invented a security solution for private households in 1966 – including a camera, TV monitor, microphone and loudspeaker. To do this, Brown had a camera attached to a hole on the inside of her front door, which was wirelessly connected to a television monitor. With additional microphones and speakers, Brown was able to talk to visitors at the door. In an emergency, the police could be informed via radio via an alarm button.

Brown’s invention is considered the forerunner of modern security cameras for home surveillance, in which even today there is still a piece of the research and inventions of Lovelace, Lamarr and Hopper. Arlo, Bosch, Nest, Ring and Smartfrog & Canary: Today, numerous companies offer Internet cameras for the home and meet the increased need for security with their developments.

“The visibility of security cameras alone can act as a deterrent to criminals,” says Alexander Hauk, spokesman for Smartfrog & Canary (link: www.canary.is/de ). With the Canary Pro, the technology company has developed a security camera with an HD camera, microphone and a 90 decibel siren. Via the Internet, users can see into their own four walls at any time and from anywhere and check whether everything is in order at home.

And even the coffee, which many IT professionals need to stimulate their thinking, tastes better thanks to a woman: in order to banish the coffee grounds from the cups, the Dresden Melitta Bentz invented the first coffee filter in 1908. She pierced the bottom of a brass pot with a nail to form a sieve-like vessel and inserted a blotting sheet from her son’s school notebook. The first paper coffee filter was ready.

This small selection of examples with a focus on mathematics and technology shows: when it comes to ingenious ideas and inventive spirit, women are in no way inferior to men. However, women still have to fight for recognition and equality worldwide.

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