Connecting the Dots

My Life and Inventions, From X-rays to Death Rays
Robert Howard
ISBN 9781566499576 (hardcover)
Published in July 2009
MSRP $25.00
"The Peer of Edison and Tesla"

In his 86th year, inventor Robert ("Bob") Howard emerges from the shadows as one of the architects of the modern world. Readers of Connecting the Dots will be amazed and inspired by how an individual from the most humble of beginnings can truly change the planet - for the better. Bob's story is told with remarkable candor, in a polished vernacular which evokes the man actually speaking.

The book is a real page-turner, alternating astonishing stories of Bob's intuitive leaps and technological breakthroughs with accounts of his (sometimes outrageous) personal life. Unjustly neglected like his hero, Nicola Tesla, Bob Howard is now due to take his place alongside the major inventors of the last 150 years.

Until now, the name "Robert Howard" never appears among geniuses who have shaped the modern world, like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Nicola Tesla. That is about to change, however, since the usually very private Mr. Howard ("Bob," as he is known to his friends and family) has written this captivating memoir to set the record straight. Still young at 85, Bob challenges you to imagine what life would be like in the Twentieth Century if television screens were still round (he invented the first affordable rectangular picture tube). And this is only the earliest of his efforts.

Bob's tumultuous life and wild adventures parallel his startling career:
We enjoy cable television largely thanks to Mr. Howard, with remote controls, both taken for granted nowadays.

Bob patented the first dot matrix printer, and then pioneered laser printer technology, used in all desktop printers today.

X-Rays became clearer, more detailed and useful to doctors thanks to Bob's innovations; he improved the quality of phonograph records and professionally printed photographs, while lowering their cost. As Bob himself writes, "the former are now obsolete; the latter may soon be."

Can your computer "talk" to printers and other peripherals without a unique connector? Bob co-invented the first universally adopted computer interface, which was faster, cheaper, and more reliable than any other interface at the time.

Dealers hoping to "skim" in casino operations are still thwarted by Bob's computerized cash register system, while current slot machines allow payoffs much greater than any mechanical slot machine ever could.

Short-run color printing accounts for 80 percent of all professional color printing jobs today, thanks to Bob's technology.

Star Wars weapons now exists, thanks to Bob, who succeeded in developing a new offensive laser weapon (both lethal and non-lethal) for the military. His defensive technology can neutralize roadside bombs.

Bob has recently revolutionized hearing aid technology (partly to fix his own hearing problem) and invented a self-locating golf ball (not yet on the market).