Meet the Woman Who Developed Caller ID, Call Waiting

Dr Shirley Ann Jackson

ALTHOUGH there are well over 100 inventions by women, however one of the most inspiring that often comes to mind in today’s world, and indeed in mobile phone technology is the Caller ID and Call Waiting.
The Caller ID and Call Waiting are both vital aspect of the mobile phone technology, while the Caller ID reveals who the caller is, the Call Waiting informs both the recipient and the Caller of a call.
And the brain behind both technologies is Dr Shirley Ann Jackson, an American theoretical physicist, whose research from the 1970s is responsible for caller ID and call waiting.
Her breakthroughs in telecommunications have also enabled others to invent the portable fax, fibre optic cables and solar cells.


She is the first African-American woman to gain a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the first African-American woman to lead a top-ranked research university.
Another great woman inventor is Grace Hopper who invented the Computer software called the Compiler.
After joining the US Navy during the Second World War, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was assigned to work on a new computer, called the Mark
It wasn’t long before she was at the forefront of computer programming in the 1950s.
She was behind the compiler, which could translate instructions into code that computers can read, making programming quicker and ultimately revolutionising how computers worked.
Hopper also helped popularised the term “de-bugging” that we still use on computers programmes today, after a moth was removed from inside her machine.
“Amazing Grace”, as she was known, continued working with computers until she retired from the navy as its oldest serving officer, aged 79.
The popular kitchen machine common in today’s home, the Dishwasher is the brainchild of Josephine Cochrane.
A frequent entertainer, Cochrane wanted a machine that would wash her dishes faster than her servants, and be less likely to break them.
Her machine, which involved a motor turning a wheel inside a copper boiler, was the first automatic dishwasher to use water pressure.
Cochrane’s alcoholic husband had left her with masses of debt after his death and this motivated her to patent her invention in 1886 and open her own production factory.
And the Home security system that keeps intruders in check is another great work from a woman known as Marie Van Brittan Brown.
A nurse, who was often home alone, Marie Van Brittan Brown came up with an idea that would make her feel safer.
Together with her husband Albert, Van Brittan Brown developed the first home security system in response to the rising crime rates and slow police responses of the 1960s.
The device was complicated, with a camera powered by a motor which moved up and down the door to look through a peephole.
A monitor in her bedroom also came equipped with an alarm button.
If you have ever been behind the steering during heavy rainfall with poor visibility but just with the touch of a button that powers on your screen wiper, then should be grateful to Mary Anderson, inventor of Windscreen wiper.
On a winter’s day of 1903, Mary Anderson was visiting New York City when she noticed that her driver was forced to open his window, just to the clear the snow from his windscreen.
Every time the window was open, the passengers in the car got colder.
Anderson started drawing her solution of a rubber blade that could be moved from inside the car, and in 1903 was awarded a patent for her device.
But the invention proved unsuccessful with car companies, who believed it would distract drivers.
Anderson never profited from her invention, even when the wipers later became standard on cars.
It might not have the catchiest name on this list, but the long cycle-life nickel-hydrogen battery has helped power the International Space Station, so it’s pretty important. The world is today glad about the work of Olga D Gonzalez-Sanabria
Gonzalez-Sanabria, who is originally from Puerto Rico, developed technology which helped create these batteries in the 1980s and is now director of engineering at Nasa’s Glenn Research Centre.
Isaiah Erhiawarien, West Africa

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