Science, Inventions, Medicine, and Aerospace

Inventions and Patents

Who invented the implantable heart pacemaker?

Otis F. Boykin (1920–1982) invented the implantable heart pacemaker—a medical contraption used to prevent heart failures; it was the most popular item of the twenty-eight different electronic and mechanical devices that he invented. The pacemaker “has helped to save and lengthen the lives of thousands of men and women around the world,” and helped to make Boykin one of the greatest inventors of his time. Variations of his resistor models are used worldwide in televisions, computers, guided missiles, and radios. He received his first patent in 1959—a wire precision resistor, followed by the 1961 inexpensive electrical resistor (U.S. patent No. 2,972,726) with the ability to withstand great temperature changes, extreme accelerations, and shocks. Not all of his works were patented; however, eleven of his inventions were patented. His achievements attracted wide attention and led to his work as electronic consultant in the United States and abroad. Boykin was born in Dallas and attended Fisk University in Nashville. He worked for several electronic firms in Chicago and did graduate study at Illinois Institute of Technology. He died of heart failure in Chicago.


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