Martin Cooper: Father of the cell phone

Full Frame

Martin Cooper Innovator Martin Cooper talks about the history and future of his invention, the cell phone.

The one object many of us use, and most would not want to live without, is our cell phone.

In 1973, as the corporate director of Research and Development at Motorola, Martin Cooper led the team of engineers that conceived a truly portable telephone.

“We knew then that once people got this phone in their hands that they would not be able to live without it,” recalls Martin.

Martin Cooper: Father of the cell phone

Martin Cooper: Father of the cell phone

Innovator Martin Cooper talks with Mike Walter about the history and future of his invention, the cell phone.


And, on April 3, 1973, Martin made the first phone call using a truly portable device.

“By 1983 we had gone through a number of iterations in the laboratory and finally came up with something we could actually produce in quantity,” says Martin.

Since then, mobile phones have changed the way people live all around the world.

In 2014, the number of mobile subscriptions, worldwide, exceeded the human population at 7.22 billion.

So, where will the future of cell phones take us? Martin believes he has an idea.

“You will have devices on your body, some implanted that will be measuring your body so you can have a physical exam, not every year or every five years, but every minute,” says Martin. “We’re going to revolutionize medicine.”

Full Frame contributor Sandra Hughes also takes a look at the global impact of mobile phone technology and the ways Martin’s invention both supports and impairs our society today.

Innovator Martin Cooper joined Mike Walter in our Los Angeles studios to talk about the history and future of cell phones.

Follow Martin on Twitter: @MartinCooper