October 21, 1980 Valerie Thomas received a patent for her invention of the Illusion Transmitter which allowed the user to render three dimensional illusions in real-time. Thomas was born in May, 1943 and at a young age took an interest in the mechanical parts inside the family’s TV. She read a book for boys in electronics which inspired her interest in science and math and went on to attend Morgan State University with a degree in physics. She went to work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration program where she worked until her retirement in 1995. In addition to her invention, Thomas designed programs to research Halley’s Comet and ozone holes. During her time at NASA, she received many awards including the NASA Equal Opportunity Medal.