The whole world will forever be indebted to African-American inventor Valerie Thomas for making 3-Dimensional imaging possible through her illusion transmitter. Thomas invention extended the idea of the television, and she earned a patent for it in 1980.
As a young girl, Valerie Thomas had always been fascinated with technology and electronics, but she didn’t receive much encouragement because she was female. However, she broke the barriers and pursued her interests. She was one of the two women in her class who graduated with a B.Sc in Physics from Morgan State University.
Upon her graduation from college, Valerie Thomas worked as a data analyst with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). She managed many projects, operations, and facilities at NASA. She also led the team that developed Landsat, the first system that allowed a satellite to send images from space.
In 1977, Thomas carried out several experiments using flat mirrors and concave mirrors and developed the illusion that made objects appear in a three-dimensional (3D) manner. She believed that the 3D representation of images would provide a more accurate view of video data. Her breakthrough process became an important scientific tool that improved NASA’s image delivery system. It also found a great application for commercial television.
Valerie Thomas Legacy
Valerie Thomas was a true pioneer and trailblazer for women and people of color in the STEM fields. She received numerous awards and honors throughout her career. These awards including the NASA GSFC Award of Merit and the SCWIST Achievement Award. Thomas also worked tirelessly to promote and encourage young women and minorities to pursue careers in science and technology. She was a mentor and role model to many, and her legacy continues to inspire future generations of inventors, scientists, and engineers. Thanks to Valerie Thomas, the world is a more vibrant and three-dimensional place.