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Valerie Thomas, a graduate of Morgan State​ University, who invented the 3D movie.  Morgan State University is home to the Bears in Baltimore, Maryland. Valerie Thomas invented the illusion transmitter which was the first mechanism that allowed images to be viewed in 3D using concave mirrors and rays of light. Her career started with NASA the second Monday after she graduated and the rest was history.


Valerie Thomas was born in May of 1943, in Maryland. She was interested in science as a child, after observing her father working with TVs and seeing the mechanical parts inside of it. At the age of eight, she read The Boys First Book on Electronics, which sparked her interest in a career in science. With Valerie attending an all-girls high school, she was not encouraged to pursue science and math courses, though she did manage to take a physics course.

After graduating high school she continued her studies at Morgan State University. At that time, Thomas became one of just two women to major in physics at Morgan State. She excelled in her studies and once she graduated, she accepted a job as a data analyst with NASA.

Morgan State University

Source: The Washington Post / Getty


In the 1970s, she oversaw the development of the image-processing system for Landsat. Landsat was the first satellite capable of sending images from outer space back down to Earth. Thomas later developed the illusion transmitter for which she received the patent for in 1980. The illusion transmitter creates optical illusion images using two concave mirrors. The unique shape of the mirrors produces an image that appears real or 3D. This technology was later adopted by NASA and has been used in surgery and to make TV screens.

Valerie Thomas Of Morgan State University Invented The 3D Movie  was originally published on