African-Americans have provided numerous contributions to society that helped create the world that we know today. For a long time though, they were not given the credit that they were due because of biases held against them. But, in recent times, people are starting to praise and acknowledge the contributions they have made through numerous commemorations. Black History Month, for example, is a month-long celebration of appreciating and praising everything that black people have given to society– a sentiment that is long overdue.
Modern life would not be the same without the contributions they have given us. Take NASA mathematician Mary W. Jackson, for example. Her work with the organization led to the success of the moon landing. But people didn’t know how she helped because her achievements were undermined by her skin color. In the world of modern technology, black people have also created significant inventions that shaped the electronic devices we have today. For years they remained as unsung heroes but as the world changes, society continues to acknowledge the contributions they made and how they changed life for the better. Here are just a few black inventors who shaped modern devices and technology:
Marie Van Brittan Brown
Today’s technology doesn’t just make life simpler, but it makes it safer as well. The home security system has been a useful tool that prevents crimes from happening at your house and it’s all thanks to Marie Van Brittan Brown. While living in a crime-ridden part of New York, Brown felt that need to invent a mechanism that would help secure her area. She created a security system by attaching multiple cameras to her peephole which would capture images and reflect them on a screen. There was also a microphone so Brown could communicate with whoever was outside without having to open the door. This precursor to the modern security system proved effective and has since kept thousands of people safe.
When Mark Dean worked for IBM, he, and a team of 12 people, created the first personal computer (PC). Before, these devices were slow and could only be run on screens with no color. Dean then invented the colored monitor and the gigahertz (GHz) processor, and one of the main beneficiaries of this was PC gaming. Today, top models have built on this innovation to allow for increasingly graphic heavy games. For example, the MSI Katana GF66 is a laptop that makes use of a colored 144hz monitor and a 4.5GHz processor that is perfect for running demanding games and applications like Far Cry 6 and Foyr. The laptop is able to perform as well as it does because of simple upgrades done to Dean’s inventions.
James E. West
Aside from computers, another popular tool today is the electret microphone. These are the mics found in mobile devices like laptops, phones, and tablets. They were originally invented by James E. West who was a professor at Johns Hopkins University. Without these devices, we would not be able to participate in the Zoom calls that became essential during the pandemic. Another reason this invention is so important is that it is also used in hearing aids, a tool used by many with auditory disabilities. West’s invention is being used in today’s technology, proving just how useful his creation is.
The world as we know it would not be the same without the inventions and innovations given to us by these people. It is important to acknowledge their contributions and how they have shaped the technology we have today. These are just a few black inventors you may not have heard of, but there are still many out there. They deserve to be commemorated and remembered as admirable individuals who helped society advance greatly.