Bluetooth® technology allows us to wirelessly connect devices that many of us use every day, like smartphones, laptops, headphones, keyboards, portable speakers and computer microphones. Whether we’re working, learning, listening, gaming or chatting, this technology has made life easier. But while you likely know the name Bluetooth, you might not know the name of its inventor. So we encourage you to read on and learn about the electrical engineer, inventor and entrepreneur behind this revolutionary technology: National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee Jaap Haartsen.
A New Way to Connect
Haartsen was born in The Hague, Netherlands. He studied electrical engineering at the Delft University of Technology in Delft, Netherlands, and earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in 1986 and 1990, respectively.
In 1991, Haartsen began working for Ericsson, first in the United States and then in Sweden. While at the company’s mobile phone division in Lund, Sweden, in 1993, he was working on indoor wireless communication systems when he was tasked with finding a solution for short-range radio connections that would add functionality to mobile phones and enable new sales. The following year, he laid the groundwork for the system that would become known as Bluetooth wireless technology, enabling connections between a variety of devices and helping people stay connected with one another.
“To be honest,” he shared in an interview with NIHF, “I didn’t have any idea of how big Bluetooth would become.”
A Global Impact
Bluetooth believes in “a connected world, free from wires,” and the technology continues to deliver on this vision.
In 1998, Haartsen played a key role in creating the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG), which manages the development of Bluetooth standards and the licensing of Bluetooth technologies and trademarks. He served as chairman of the Bluetooth SIG air protocol specifications group from 1998 to 2000, leading the standardization of the Bluetooth radio interface and working to obtain worldwide regulatory approval for the technology.
Haartsen later became chief technology officer of Tonalite BV, a consumer electronics company developing and manufacturing wearable wireless products. After U.S. electronics company Plantronics acquired Tonalite in 2012, Haartsen served as an expert on wireless systems and technologies at the company. He also has been a member of the faculty of the University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands, where he taught mobile radio communications systems. Currently, he is a partner at Dopple, a privately owned company in Assen, Netherlands, addressing hearing-protection products.
To stay creative and inspired, Haartsen maintains a balance in his life. “You must find a restful environment to be creative,” he said. “So I try to have a balance between my personal life, where I have very little technology, and my professional life, which is full of technology.”
Meet More Hall of Famers
To discover hundreds of other inspiring creators, innovators and entrepreneurs, we invite you to visit our website.