2019 National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee Bill Warner is known for his invention of the Avid Media Composer®, a digital nonlinear editing system. While NIHF honors Warner for his creation of the Avid, we also recognize that his proclivity for innovation was evident long before his Avid products revolutionized the process of editing in the film and television industries.
At the NIHF Museum, not only can you learn more about Bill Warner, but you can also step back in time to interact with one of Warner’s earlier inventions in a new exhibit.
Step Inside ‘That 70s Room’
Inside this room, you’ll feel as though you’ve traveled back to the 1970s. You’ll see instantly recognizable décor including a shag rug, bright orange chairs and a television. Each element of this exhibit is designed to evoke the time in which Bill Warner invented the Whistle System.
What is the Whistle System?
Warner invented the Whistle System when he was hospitalized following a car accident. While sharing a room with a young man whose neck injury had prohibited the use of his arms and legs, Warner observed the difficulties his roommate encountered with everyday tasks, from turning on the lights to making phone calls, and he wanted to provide a solution.
By creating the Whistle System, Warner made it possible for his roommate to perform a number of tasks by simply blowing a whistle. Warner said his roommate’s reaction to the system was immediately positive — “He blew the whistle and it turned the light on and off. And his eyes lit up. He loved it.”
How Does It Work?
Our interactive That 70s Room exhibit allows you to turn a pitch knob and match the tone of your whistle to complete several actions.
When you whistle into the microphone and turn the knob, your pitch will be detected and an indicator will light up. You’ll see that each of the items you can control in the room, from the television to the fan, is labeled with a number. To perform a specific action, like turning on a light, you’ll turn the pitch knob until the number corresponding to that action appears, and then you can whistle using this tone.
Try taking the phone off the hook, turning on a fan or lamp, or changing channels on the television — Warner’s Whistle System makes it easy.
Visit the NIHF Museum
You can experience That 70s Room for yourself and learn more about Bill Warner and each of our 2019 NIHF Inductees when you visit the NIHF Museum. Our exhibits are family friendly and admission is free! Start planning your visit now at invent.org.