#HealthHistory Celebrating revolutionary individuals who made historical advancements in medicine

Otis Boykin

Meet Otis Boykin, an American Inventor, and Engineer

Boykin is known for several important contributions to pacemakers and cardiac rhythm devices.

Pacemakers are small devices that help the heart beat regularly by delivering small electric stimulation that controls the heartbeat. This device helps control a patient’s heart rate.

Boykin filed a patent for the resistor that made the pacemaker. This resistor would later become a key part of the pacemaker’s control unit. Boykin’s resistor enabled pacemakers to have a time base and a repeated sending of uniform signals at a small scale.

Gabriel Mouchawar, divisional VP of product development at Abbott, told Medical Design & Outsourcing “Otis Boykin’s work set the technology on a path that led us to where we find ourselves today” and “Otis’s work was instrumental in making components of the pacemaker longer-lasting and manufacturable at a lower cost. This in turn helped increase access to therapy to improve patient care.”

Many medical devices still used today to save lives would not have been possible without the technological contributions of Otis Boykin.

As technology plays an even greater role in our every day lives, we often take advantage of Boykin’s contributions to resistor technology without even knowing it.

For those of us with pacemakers, Boykin’s impact remains even greater.


“Otis Boykin’s Enduring Impact on Technology.” National Inventors Hall of Fame®, www.invent.org/blog/inventors/otis-boykin-electrical-resistor-pacemaker.

“Otis Boykin: African American Inventors.” Scholastic.com, teacher.scholastic.com/activities/bhistory/inventors/boykin.htm.