Marty Cooper was born on December 26, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois where he later grew up to become a legendary American engineer who shaped the wireless communication industry. In 1950, Marty Cooper graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), and later joined the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War. After the war, he joined the Teletype Corporation, a company that is responsible for the research, development, and manufacturing of data and record communications equipment, and later worked for Motorola in 1954. During his time at Motorola, not only did he earn his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at IIT, but he also worked on multiple projects, such as the first radio-controlled traffic-light system and the first handheld police radios.

Even after all of his amazing contributions to Motorola, he continued to push himself and took on the challenge of inventing the first handheld cellular mobile phone, which weighed about 2.5 pounds. Cooper later served as Motorola’s Vice President and Director of Research and Development from 1973 to 1983. Since then, he has also co-founded multiple cellular business systems such as Dyna LLC, GreatCall Inc., and ArrayComm.

Marty Cooper with the first cell phone, looking at the camera
Photo by Eric Risberg—Associated Press, 2003

“We should be focused on how to make people’s lives better. That is the purpose of technology.” 

Marty Cooper’s Daily Routine:

  • 7:30 AM – Wake up
  • 8 AM – Healthy breakfast w/ fruit juice
  • 8:30 AM – Read the news
  • 9 AM – Morning hike w/ friends, Talk about ideas
  • 10 AM – Record a podcast w/ Owaves Team, Discuss his upcoming book Cutting the Cord
  • 11 AM – Meetings & work at his company Dyna, LLC
  • Noon – Lunch
  • 1 PM – Meetings & work at his company Dyna, LLC, Advise start-ups and tech entrepreneurs, Research new ideas, & Discuss w/ colleagues
  • 5 PM – Lift weights, Other exercise
  • 6 PM – Dinner
  • 7 PM – Time with family & grandkids
  • 9 PM – Hot bath while he does the following: Sings, Solves problems, and Daydreams
  • 10 PM – Read sci-fi
  • 11 PM – Bed

How Marty Cooper Stays Healthy

Marty Cooper prioritizes his fitness by working out twice a day. Cooper starts his day with a morning hike to enjoy the fresh air and get his body moving. Cooper places an emphasis on weight lifting, as it has many health benefits. According to the CDC, over 35 million older adults fall each year, making falling a public health concern. When Cooper goes on his morning hike and lifts weights, he likes to wear his Apple Watch to keep track of his movement and protect him if he does fall. Apple Watches have a fall detection application that can alert emergency services if the user suffers from a fall, which makes wearing the Apple Watch very valuable. By weight lifting everyday, Cooper is able to improve his strength and decrease his chance of falling.

Marty Cooper’s Evening Routine

Apart from staying healthy, Marty finds his happiness in spending time with his family and grandchildren in the evenings to decompress! Family time is very important to him and plays an essential part in his day. Thus, one quote by Warren Buffett that Cooper lives by is, “When you get to my age, you’ll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.”

After family time, Cooper begins his nighttime routine. Before going to bed, he takes a hot bath which gives him the opportunity to unwind, daydream, and listen to music. Taking hot baths daily reduces the chances of having a stroke or heart attack by 20-30%, which is why Cooper makes sure to incorporate a hot bath in his daily routine. Additionally, he believes that listening to music is a workout for the brain, so he loves to listen to music while taking his bath to continue to build his brain strength.

What Did the First Cell Phone Look Like?

The first wireless cell phone weighed about 2.5 pounds, was 10 inches long in length, and had 20 minutes of battery life. This ginormous phone cost $3,500! Marty states, “I have to confess that [the widespread global use of cell phones] would have been a stretch at the time and in 1983 those first phones cost $3,500, which is the equivalent of $7,000 today.  But we did envision that someday the phone would be so small that you could hang it on your ear or even have it embedded under your skin.” His contributions to the first cell phone serve as the foundation to what the cell phone is today, and he continues to work on revolutionizing technology and cell phones as we know them.

Marty Cooper surrounded by some of the first cell phones: They were very big
Photo by Sandy Huffaker—The New York Times/Redux, 2009

“People are mobile. They move around, and anytime they want to communicate, if you tie them to wall or the wires, you’re restricting them, you’re infringing on their freedom.” 

To learn more about Marty, please visit this blog post to watch our interview with him or listen to the podcast of the interview!


Apple Support. (n.d.). Manage fall detection on Apple Watch.

BrainyQuote. (n.d.). Martin Cooper quotes.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, December 16). Keep on your feet-preventing older adult falls.

Cohen, J. (2018, August). Marty Cooper found his calling: The cellphone. HistoryNet.

Gregersen, E. (2020, December 22). Martin Cooper. Britannica.

Harvard Health Publishing. (2020, October). Hot baths and saunas: Beneficial for your heart? Harvard Medical School.

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Keep your brain young with music.

Loeffler, J. (2019, August 25). The history behind the invention of the first cell phone. Interesting Engineering.

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