Otis F. Boykin was born on August 29, 1920 in Dallas, Texas. In 1941, he graduated from Fisk College in Nashville, Tennessee. He later decided to pursue graduate studies in 1946 and 1947 at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. Unfortunately, he was forced to drop out, because he was unable to pay the tuition.
He did not let that deter him. He decided to work on project that he had begin to develop while in school. Boykin took a special interest in working with resistors. A resistor is an electronic component that slows the flow of an electrical current. It is vital in preventing too much electricity from passing through a component than is necessary or even safe. Boykin sought and received a patent for a wire precision resistor on June 16, 1959. This resistor was used in radios and televisions. Two years later, he created another resistor that could be manufactured very inexpensively. His new invention could now withstand extreme changes in temperature and tolerate and withstand various levels of pressure and physical trauma without impairing its effectiveness. The chip was cheaper and more reliable than others on the market. It was in great demand as he received orders from numerous electronics manufacturers to include the United States military and electronics behemoth IBM.
In 1964, Boykin moved to Paris creating even more electronic innovations. Most of these creations involved electrical resistance components (including small component thick-film resistors used in computers and variable resistors used in guided missile systems), but he also created a chemical air filter and a burglarproof cash register. His most famous invention, however, was a control unit for the pacemaker, which used electrical impulses to stimulate the heart and create a steady heartbeat. Ironically, Boykin died in 1982 as a result of heart failure.