Listen Live Graphics (Indy)
WTLC Featured Video

Otis Frank Boykin (1920-1982) was an African American inventor and engineer.

Otis Frank Boykin was born in 1920 in Dallas, Texas. His mother was a homemaker and his father was a carpenter. He worked as a laboratory assistant at the nearby University’s aerospace laboratory. Otis attended Fisk University and Illinois Institute of Technology, but dropped out after 2 years because his parents could not afford his tuition.

Boykin, in his lifetime, ultimately invented more than 25 electronic devices. One of his early inventions was an improved electrical resistor for computers, radios, televisions and an assortment of other electronic devices. Other notable inventions include a variable resistor used in guided missiles and small component thick-film resistors for computers.

Boykin’s most famous invention was likely a control unit for the artificial heart pacemaker. The device essentially uses electrical impulses to maintain a regular heartbeat. Boykin himself died of heart failure in 1982.