Bell Lab’s Inventions
from USA Today 12/01/06 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz 8/13
It’s the birthplace of the Transistor, the Laser, & the Solar Cell. Its researchers were the first to hear the echoes of the Big Bang.
Bell Labs was founded in 1925 as the research arm of AT&T’s national Telephone business. Sixty years later, it was spun off as part of Lucent Technologies, which in 2006 was acquired by Paris-based Alcatel SA. Bell Labs employs about 9,000 researchers and engineers in seven countries, down from a peak of 24,000 in 1998 before Lucent drastically downsized.
Recognition. Its scientists have collectively have won 7 Nobel Prizes in Physics, 9 U.S. Medals of Science, 7 U.S. Medals of Technology, & a Grammy award, for many achievements in sound technology. The lab has been granted > 30,000 U.S. patents, 15,000 of which are still active.
A look at some Key Achievements:
•1876 Scotland-born scientist Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the Telephone
•1885 AT&T began building America’s original long distance Phone network
•1913 AT&T tested Vacuum Tubes on the long distance network
•1925: Bell Labs organized. First demonstration of a Facsimile [Fax] machine sending pictures over telephone wires.
•1926: First synchronization system for Sound movies.
•1927: First long-distance TV transmission, sending live images of Pres Hoover from Washington to New York.
•1937: First electronic Speech Synthesizer (re-created human speech).
•1939: First binary Digital Computer.
•1947: John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley invent the Transistor, leading to the electronic-age of portable radios, touchtone phones, & computer microchips.
•1951: Direct Dialing of domestic long-distance calls.
•1954: Solar Battery Cell to convert sunlight into electricity.
•1956: First Trans-atlantic Telephone Cable, handling up to 36 calls. Color TV & HDTV.
•1958: Laser (now used in fiber-optic communications networks and as a cutting tool in surgery & industry.
•1962: Demonstrated Cellular technology, tested the first Paging system, produced the first orbiting communications satellite (Telstar I) and invented light-emitting diodes [LEDs], now widely used in imaging systems.
•1969: UNIX operating system, SW that made “open” computer systems possible and became the Internet’s foundation.
•1979: Digital Signal Processor, enabling Cellular Phones.
•1988: First fiber-optic Trans-atlantic cable, handling up to 40,000 phone calls at once. [1000x original in 1956]
•1992: Invented Compression Technology needed for digital radio.
•1995: First prototype system supporting Wireless Internet.
•1998: First switch allowing Internet telephone traffic, faster Internet access.
•2005: First Internet Protocol transmission at 100 gigabits per second, 10 times the current speed and critical for future services such as IPTV.
•2005-Present continue in Lucent & Alcatel websites.
Comments: Which do you think are the most significant Inventions?