x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

A name to remember

Ray Dolby may not be a household name, but his name is in almost every household.

While we can all name many famous singers and film stars, we’d be hard-pressed to name a famous engineer. Although the late American inventor Ray Dolby may not have been a household name, his name is on display in just about every household in the developed world.

Dolby, who died last week at the age of 80, was the inventor of the noise-reduction technology first used to eliminate “hiss” from tape recordings and now incorporated into a wide range of domestic and professional audio and video products.

Look at your home-entertainment system and you’ll almost certainly see the logo of his company, Dolby Laboratories. You’ll also see the Dolby name on movie posters, acknowledging the complex surround-sound systems that help make a trip to the cinema such a thrilling experience.

Dolby earned a patent on a videotape machine before he left college. By the time of his death, he had countless patents, several Emmys, two Oscars and a Grammy. He also amassed a fortune of $2.3 billion (Dh8.8bn).

His name is inextricably linked with products that have genuinely made our lives richer and more enjoyable. There are few in any walk of life, or at any level of fame, who can make that claim.