20 Notable Black Americans in Telecom and Technology

Otis F. Boykin is known for inventing the wire precision resistor, and his work made possible the steady workings of a variety of now-ubiquitous electronic devices. Variations of his resistor models are used around the world today in televisions, computers, and radios. Most notably, however, his work enabled control functions for the first successful, implantable pacemaker. Boykin earned his first patent in 1959 for a wire precision resistor, which allowed for the designation of a precise amount of resistance for a specific purpose. The advances incorporated into Boykin’s resistor meant that many electronic devices, including consumer goods and military equipment, could be made more cheaply and with greater reliability than provided by earlier options. His resistor was quickly incorporated into a number of products, including guided missiles and IBM computers, in the United States and overseas. In addition, a version of his resistor made possible the precise regulation necessary for the success of the pacemaker, which has helped to save and lengthen the lives of thousands of men and women around the world.

Source: Lemelson MIT