Cooper grew up in Chicago and earned a degree in electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology. After four years in the navy serving on destroyers and a submarine, he worked for a year at a telecommunications company.
Hired by Motorola in 1954, Mr. Cooper worked on developing portable products, including the first portable handheld police radios, made for the Chicago police department in 1967. He then led Motorola's cellular research.
Dr Martin Cooper, a former general manager for the systems division at Motorola, is considered the inventor of the first portable handset and the first person to make a call on a portable cell phone in April
1973. The first call he made was to his rival, Joel Engel, Bell Labs head of research.Cooper, now 70, wanted people to be able to carry their phones with them anywhere.
AT&T's research arm, Bell Laboratories, introduced the idea of cellular communications in 1947. But Motorola and Bell Labs in the sixties and early seventies were in a race to incorporate thetechnology into portabledevices.While he was a project manager at Motorola in 1973, Cooper set up abase station in New York with the first working prototype of a cellular telephone, the Motorola Dyna-Tac. After some initial testing
in Washington for the F.C.C., Mr. Cooper and Motorola took the phone technology to New York to show the public.
The First Cellphone was introduced in 1973 and was named Motorola Dyna-Tac.