Our latest #Techspiration is Martin Cooper, an American engineer, who pioneered the team that devised the first mobile phone in 1973. He is widely regarded as the ‘Father of the cellular phone’, which is why he’s our most recent Claritas #Techspiration. Let’s take a look!
- Born December 26th, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois, USA
- In 1950, Martin Cooper graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering
- After joining the Navy and serving in the Korean war, he began working at Motorola in 1954
- Working at Motorola, he earned a Masters in electrical engineering whilst working on numerous wireless communications and developments
- In 1968, Cooper was put in charge of developing a mobile phone urgently to avoid AT&T monopolising the mobile phone market
- He unveiled the first mobile phone, the DynaTAC, at a conference in New York City on April 3rd, 1973. With a few more developments, it was successfully brought to the consumer market in 1983.
What makes him great?
In his time at Motorola, he worked on many wireless communications projects that have been integral to everyday life. Cooper developed the first radio-controlled traffic-light system, which he patented in 1960. He also developed the first handheld police radios, which were introduced in 1967 and are arguably, vital for the job today.
Cooper left Motorola in 1983 after successfully delivering the mobile phone to market, and in that same year, he founded Cellular Business Systems, Inc. (CBSI), which became the leading company in billing cellular phone services.
Why he is a ‘techspiration’ to Claritas
After his successful endeavours, he moved on to even greater adventures. In 1986, he sold CBSI to Cincinnati Bell for $23 million, before he and his wife, Arlene Harris, founded Dyna, LLC.
The company, Dyna, served as a central organisation from which they launched other companies such as ArrayComm, in 1996, which developed software for wireless systems and GreatCall, in 2006, which provided wireless service for the Jitterbug, a mobile phone with simple features, meant for easy use and convenience by the elderly.
To be acknowledged for his innovations, Martin was awarded the Charles Stark Draper Prize from the National Academy of Engineering in 2013.
Our favourite thing?
On April 3, 1973, Martin Cooper introduced the DynaTAC phone to the world. The first mobile phone call was to engineer Joel Engel, head of AT&T’s rival project, to tell him that he was in fact, calling from a mobile phone!