Black people are behind a lot of the products and inventions we put to use every day.
While our textbooks may only list a limited amount of Black inventors, there are even more tech innovators that you may not have read about. Check out these Black inventors who are behind some of the world’s greatest technological advancements.
Jerry Lawson creator of the video game cartridge
Self-taught engineer, Jerry Lawson helped change the gaming industry forever. In the mid ’70s as the head of engineering and marketing for Fairchild Semiconductor’s gaming outfit, Lawson created the first home gaming console that used interchangeable cartridges. While Lawson’s gaming system was not as popular as gaming systems that followed it (like Nintendo and Sega) his design changed gaming from single games saved on the hardware to multiple games that could be swapped out.
Marie Van Brittan Brown creator of the home security system
In the 1960s Marie Van Brittan Brown created the first home security system. Brown created this invention as an effort to protect her home in Queens, New York after she would come home during late nights after working as a nurse. Her invention consisted of peepholes, a camera, monitors, an alarm button and a two-way microphone. Marie’s invention was patented in 1969 and it continues to influence modern day surveillance systems.
Mark E. Dean inventor of the color PC Monitor
Computer engineer and scientist Mark E. Dean has more than 20 patents associated with his name. Out of these patents, three of them are held with IBM for being the co-creator of the personal computer (PC) released in 1981. His most popular inventions include the development of the color PC monitor and the first gigahertz chip that can do a billion calculations per second.
Patricia Bath inventor of the Laserphaco Probe
Inventor, doctor and educator, Patricia Bath holds the title of “first” for multiple accomplishments in Black history. She is the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology and the first Black woman to serve on staff as a surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center. Ten years after co-founding the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, she created the Laserphaco Probe, a device that improved treatment for cataract patients. She received a patent for this device in 1988, becoming the first African-American female doctor to receive a medical patent.