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*Marie Van Brittan Brown was born on this date in 1922. She was a Black nurse and inventor.
Born Marie Van Brittan in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, in 1966, she had the idea for a home surveillance device. She and her husband, Albert Brown, applied for a patent in 1966 for a closed-circuit television security system. They created a system for a motorized camera to show images on a monitor. The patent, #3,482,037, was granted. Her device was the forerunner to the modern home security system.
Brown's system had a set of four peepholes and a camera that could slide up and down to look out each one. Anything the camera picked up would appear on a monitor. Another feature of Brown's invention was that a person could unlock a door with remote control. Marie Brown told The New York Times the couple invented the device because police were slow in responding to emergencies in their neighborhood.
There had been an uptick in crime, and Marie Brown wanted to feel safer alone at home. The Times reported the “audio-video alarm system” could be used to see who was at the door and interview them. She was given an award for the National Scientists Committee (NSC).
Marie Van Brittan Brown died on February 2, 1999.