Otis Boykin was born on 29 August 1920 in Dallas, Texas. He attended both Fisk University and the Illinois Institute of Technology. Boykin worked on resistors used in many electronic devices including computers and television sets. He invented the variable resistor used in guided missiles and IBM computers. Other devices Boykin worked on included a burglar proof cash register, a chemical air filter, and a control unit for an artificial heart stimulator (pacemaker). He worked for many American and Parisian firms throughout his career.
Boykin died of heart failure in 1982.