Black History Month: Celebrating our Black innovators

At Vanti we work in an incredibly fast paced and constantly changing industry where innovation is crucial to improving efficiencies, making improvements and unlocking potential. Technology is an industry which not only thrives but survives thanks to innovation.

As part of Black History Month, we want to celebrate some of the best Black innovators who have not only shown incredible skill and expertise within their specialist fields, but have also created systems and products which have a monumental impact on our everyday lives.

Granville T Woods

Known as the “Black Edison” Granville T Woods was the owner of over 60 patents, although his most famed invention would be the multiplex telegraph, inspired by his time working as an engineer for railroad companies.

The device allowed people to communicate by voice over telegraph wires, ultimately helping to speed up important communications and, subsequently, preventing crucial errors such as train accidents.

Marie Van Brittan Brown

Living in Queens, New York and concerned about rising crime levels in her neighbourhood, Marie Van Brittan Brown set about creating a system which helped her view who was outside her house from any room. After deciding a wireless television system would work best, she used a radio-controlled wireless system that could stream the video to any television in the house, and  a two-way microphone system that would allow for communication between the family and the person at the door.

Her home security system is still the fundamental basis of systems in use today, helping keep people safe and also the technology which has brought thousands of criminals to justice.

Lewis Latimer

While Thomas Edison is widely heralded as the inventor of the lightbulb and Alexander Graham Bell for mind behind the telephone, a lot of the credit for both of these vital inventions should go to Lewis Latimer.

Lewis was tasked with creating the technical drawings which would secure the patent for Bell’s telephone before inventing a carbon filament for the incandescent lightbulb, an invention which helped make electric lighting practical and affordable for the average household.

Gladys West

If you haven’t heard of Gladys West, you can be assured that her work plays a huge part in your life every single day. After training as a mathematician, Gladys undertook research which became crucial to the creation of what we now know as GPS, or the Global Positioning System.

GPS is now a huge part of the modern world and Is a key technology in almost every industry. So next time you’re tapping postcodes into your sat nav to find the quickest route, hunting for a local takeaway to feast upon or listening to your favourite local radio station, you have Glady’s life changing research to thank.

Mark Dean

A heralded computer scientist and engineer, Mark Dean has played a huge role in advancing tech and creating landmark items such as the color PC monitor, the Industry Standard Architecture system bus and the first gigahertz chip.

He was also the first African American to join the prestigious IBM fellow programme in recognition of the ground-breaking advances in technology which he had played a role in.