Today are homes are made safer by home security systems and by smart home technologies from companies like Ring and Nest. But everyone would be sleeping a lot less soundly at night if it weren't for Marie Van Brittan Brown, a nurse who, in 1966, invented what would become the foundation for modern home and business security systems.
Annoyed by the slow response times when police had to be called to homes in New York City, where she lived at the time, Brown set out to devise a system that would monitor her home and quickly alert authorities of suspicious activity.
Working in her off hours, Brown developed a system that attached a camera and an array of four peepholes to a door (the holes were for people of varying heights). The camera would slide up and down to each hole and display what it saw on a monitor or TV that could be placed elsewhere in the home.
The homeowner could see who was at the front door via the monitor, unlock the door remotely via radio control, and, if needed, sound an alarm that would go straight to the police. The system also included microphones to allow for two-way communication between the homeowner and whomever was at the door.
Brown's system included many features that are now staples of security systems and her patent is still cited in security devices to this day.
(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)