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Marie Van Brittan Brown

Marie Van Brittan Brown was an American nurse and innovator. In 1966, she invented a video home security system along with her husband Albert Brown, an electronics technician. In the same year, they applied for a patent for their innovative security system, which was granted in 1969. Brown’s invention was inspired by the security risk that her home faced in the neighborhood where she lived. Marie Brown worked as a nurse and her husband, Albert Brown, worked as an electronics technician. Their work hours were not the standard nine-to-five, and the crime rate in their Queens, New York City neighborhood was very high. Even when the police were contacted in the event of an emergency, the response time tended to be slow. As a result, Brown looked for ways to increase her level of personal security. She needed to create a system that would allow her to know who was at her home and contact relevant authorities as quickly as possible. 

Brown’s invention laid the foundation for later security systems that make use of its features such as video monitoring, remote-controlled door locks, push-button alarm triggers, instant messaging to security providers and police, as well as two-way voice communication. Her invention is still used by small businesses, small offices, single-family homes, and multi-unit dwellings such as apartments and condominiums. The Browns’ patent was later referenced by thirteen other inventors including some as recently as 2013.

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