September 1965 Electronics World
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
Electronics World, published May 1959
- December 1971. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
The items reported in
the September 1967 issue of Electronics World magazine represent the beginning
stages of many technologies that are still in used today. The monolithic ferrite
memory was a major producibility improvement in what was formally hand-wired toroidal
matrices of cores. They were the first step in integrated memory (although we don't
use magnets anymore in ICs (just on hard drives). The Electronically Controlled
Robot looks like something from a modern Japanese university - without the skin,
hair, and eyeballs. Note that as today, supplying power is one of the biggest hurdles
in making a human-looking robot (umbilical required). The Solid State Camera "Tube"
is one of the very first solid state camera imaging chips. It had a whopping 2,500
pixels. The Computer-Directed Drawing Machine converted a 2-dimensional drawing
into a 3-dimensional perspective. Shipboard Satellite Communications was at the
time one of the first uses of satellites for global communications, it being a big
deal because active (powered) birds were only a few years into deployment.
Recent Developments in Electronics
Monolithic Ferrite Memory
A high-speed memory unit, potentially one of the simplest and most economical
approaches to producing complex memory systems, has been made available to computer
manufacturers by RCA. The memory wafer is constructed by embedding groups of perpendicular
word and bit conductors between very thin sheets of ferrite material to form closed-loop
ferrite "cores" with integral windings. This laminated structure is sintered using
suitable ferrite firing techniques to produce a solid monolithic ferrite wafer with
64 word and 64 bit windings. This new process eliminates the tedious task of individual
ferrite core stringing and hand-wiring, prime cost factors in conventional memory
systems. Each wafer contains, in effect, 4096 cores with 5-mil diameter, not much
larger than a hair.
A new device that transforms the dots and dashes of Morse code into ordinary
English is shown under field test by the Army. The translator allows those untrained
in the code to read messages readily. The unit, built by Regency Electronics, is
simply plugged into a radio set tuned to the station to be decoded. The letters
are displayed by means of 17 tiny incandescent lamps in the panel of the cigarette-package-size
device. Integrated circuits containing the equivalent of 350 diodes and 75 transistors
are employed with 4 rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries.
Electronically Controlled Robot
A six-foot-two 230-pound electronically controlled robot has been developed by
IIT Research Institute for NASA as a mechanical model for space suits. Once fitted
to a space suit, the dummy will give engineers exact measurements of the force it
develops in order to overcome resistance to the occupant's movements offered by
a pressurized space suit. The robot is shown without its aluminum-plate skin. The
dummy is powered by hydraulic actuators at 35 joints, controlled by electrical servo
valves directed from a remote panel. Sensors at each joint send back signals that
indicate amount of force in each movement.
Solid-State Camera "Tube"
A camera system that uses a solid-state imaging device instead of an electronic
tube for light sensing and image conversion has been developed for NASA by Westinghouse.
The imaging device is a mosaic made up of 2500 photo-transistors; it is 1/2-inch
square with 50 light-sensitive semiconductor elements on a side. The image produced
has a resolution of 100 lines per inch. The associated camera system uses integrated
circuitry in order to perform the necessary functions to obtain video output.
Computer-Directed Drawing Machine
The drawing machine shown here enables a draftsman to convert two-dimensional
drawings into visually accurate perspective illustrations. Two styli on the horizontal
plane trace blueprint views of the subject. Information is fed into the computer,
which then guides an X-Y plotter pen on the vertical surface, creating a three-dimensional
view. Tilt and rotation are determined by settings on a control panel on machine
developed by Perspective, Inc.
Shipboard Satellite Communications
A small, 6-foot antenna now being sea tested aboard the USS Canberra and USS
Midway gives the Navy the capability for instant ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore
communications through high-altitude "stationary" satellites. The shipboard satellite
communications sets, built by Hughes Aircraft Co., provide both voice and teletypewriter
communications unaffected by atmospheric conditions. The engineer shown would be
dwarfed by "normal" paraboloid.
The new integrated-circuit card, right, is one-fourth the size and does
the same work as the old discrete component circuit board that it replaces in the
new line of Systems Engineering Labs computers. The integrated circuits used are
all silicon monolithic types. The new line of computers are general-purpose types
designed for real-time processing and control operations or for scientific and general
off-line computation. The silicon monolithic circuit elements used are supplied
by Fairchild Semiconductor.
Posted August 16, 2022