According to Yahoo News, David Warren, the inventor of the aircraft "black box", died last week. He was an Australian, and his father died in an airplane crash when he was nine. Here's an Australian article, with different details.
"Black box" is the nickname given to both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, both of which seem to have been included in Mr. Warren's invention. To come up with the idea of such devices was pretty visionary in the 1950s when instant recording was a novelty and data recording usually on paper reels. I wonder if the idea was germinating in his mind waiting for the technology to be up to the task. And then he made the idea into a working model. Both the idea and the technology could easily have died without being adopted, as I'm sure many useful safety ideas have, so credit to Australia for putting it into law.
The CVR/FDR comprise a peculiar piece of safety technology. They do no good whatsoever to the pilots or passengers whose aircraft they are installed in, but can provide huge benefits to others, later. I have worked in an airplane with a CVR and in another that was supposed to have one, but for which management successfully obtained a waiver from Transport to spend the money on a more immediately useful piece of technology. Most of the time the airplane was flown single crew, which I think was the grounds for the exemption.
Neither article cites Mr. Warren's last words. Do you think they were "Oh shit" or "What's it doing now"?