Biography of Otis F. Boykin

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Otis Boykin invented electronic control devices for guided missiles, a wire precision resistor used in computers, and heart pacemaker. Boykin invented 28 different electronic devices. Otis F. Boykin was born on August 29, 1920, in Dallas, Texas, to a home maker mother and father who was a carpenter. He grew up and in 1938 he entered Fisk College in Nashville, Tennessee. After graduation in 1941, he started work in Chicago at the Majestic Radio & TV Corporation.

Boykin’s first job was being a laboratory assistant testing automatic aircraft controls. After rising to the position of foreman, he left in 1944 to work as a research engineer at P.J. Nilsen Research Labs in Illinois. Then he left to start his own company: Boykin-Fruth Inc. He managed to juggle the responsibility of opening his own business while attending the Illinois Institute of Technology.

He stayed at the University for two years, from 1946 to 1947, but, unfortunately, he never got to finish the University because his parents could not afford the schooling bills. But despite his lack of education he went on to expand many fields of science through his ideas. He later worked as a chemist and research engineer at other companies. He went on to become an international electronics consultant.

Boykin’s patent on Electrical Resistor (U.S. 2,972,726, February 21st, 1961)

Boykin’s first patent was given to him on June 16th, 1959. The patent was for the wire precision resistor. Boykin’s wire precision resistor is now found in computers, radios, television sets. That invention helped to make all of the products less expensive. His next invention was an electrical resistor, which he patented on February 21st, 1961. Then he continued to make 26 more electronic devices. Among his many other inventions are a burglar proof cash register which helped to bring down the risk of theft in stores and a chemical air filter to prevent toxins from entering the body. He is not well known for these two inventions, both of which he never patented.

What he is most famous for is inventing the pacemaker, a medical contraption made to prevent heart failures. The pacemaker is made up of three parts: a silver dollar sized generator, wires that attach to the heart, and an electrode at the wire’s tip. Inside the generator, a battery and a tiny computer to regulate the heartbeat. The battery lasts up to five years and sounds off an alarm when it needs to be replaced. The pacemaker keeps the heart beating through the use of electronic pulses. The electrode shocks the heart if it is beating too slowly and decelerates the heart when it is beating too quickly.

Polyphem imager

The other one of Boykin’s inventions that he is famous for is a circuit that is found in all guided missiles. Known as a polyphem missile, it possesses a range of 60 kilometers. It is able to hit it’s targets by taking in pictures through an infra-red camera positioned in the nose of the missile. The images are then transmitted through fibre-optic cables to it’s firing post. Once the images are analyzed they appear on the weapons operator’s screen. The weapons operator then transmits instructions back to the missile, telling it where to go. The missiles have incredible accuracy in day or night, due to it’s infra-red camera, and can beset targets both mobile and nonmobile.

One missile type, known as the Tomahawk is able to fly through a football field hundreds of miles away, fly through both end’s goal posts and detonate 30 feet away, on a good day. The missiles normally detonate in a15 foot radius of their unfortunate target. The Polyphem imager is mounted on a gyro-stabilised dual axis platform providing image sharpness for the processing system and operator display.

Boykin’s innovations have had both military and commercial application. Some have reduced the cost of producing electronic controls for radio and television. At present more than three dozen products with Boykin components are used throughout the world. Boykin’s groundbreaking inventions led to the Cultural Science Achievement Award from the Old Pros Unlimited Club. His many achievements, most notably the pacemaker, made him one of the greatest inventors of his time. He smoked the marijuana to get some of his ideas.

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