March 1967 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.
Half a century from now, state-of-the-art reports we read of in today's media will seem as primitive as some of these projects that appeared in this March 1967 edition of Electronics World do now. As compared to some of the stories from 1950s - 1960s era, these technologies are notably closer to today's efforts because by then the transistor and some integrated circuits were commonplace. A case in point is the Tubeless TV Camera, whose thin-film printed sensor array was the precursor to modern CMOS charge-coupled devices (CCDs). Probably nobody in 1967 could have imagined today's state of the art sensor chips - and in color no less! Computer synthesized speech with the soothing tone and crisp inflections of HAL were far in the future, but formed the inspiration for the incredibly human-sounding smart readers of today that render speech in most languages. Weathervision, which supplied pilots with real-time briefings via a camera's-eye view of a control center information display, is nowadays available as smartphone apps available to anyone but provides not just text but access to global weather radar with past, present, and future displays, forecasts, weather alerts, near real-time tracking of air traffic, and much more.
Recent Developments in Electronics
Portable Landing System. An Air Force twin-jet trainer is shown making an accurate approach over a portable ground station during technical evaluation at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. When interrogated, the ground unit provides range and range rate as well as conventional glide path and localizer information to enable the pilot to remain in full command during approach and landing. The system is being developed by Honeywell to meet pressing military requirements for an effective all-weather landing system in remote combat areas, The system operates on the C band (5100 MHz) and has a range of 10 nautical miles. Four foldable flat-plate antenna arrays are used along with an omnidirectional antenna, control box, and optical bore-sight, all mounted on a tripod. It can be set up and aligned by one man in five minutes. Power is supplied by a motor generator, with standby 28-volt batteries. The present prototype weight is 55 pounds but this can be reduced.
Computer-Generated Vocal-Tract Model. Accurate synthetic speech is now being produced with the aid of a controllable, computer-generated model of the vocal tract developed at Bell Labs. The model, based on information stored in a computer, is actually a geometric description of vocal-tract areas as they are shaped to produce various sounds. When synthesizing speech, a researcher can see an outline of the vocal tract displayed on an oscilloscope and at the same time, hear the sound which corresponds to the displayed shape, By operating switches and turning knobs at a computer console, the researcher can change shape and sound simultaneously. Thus, synthetic speech is improved.
Tubeless TV Camera. A revolutionary tubeless TV camera is being demonstrated here by RCA Laboratories technician, prior to its delivery to the U.S. Air Force Avionics Laboratory, sponsor of the development. The device is described as a first step toward a new era of personal TV communication systems, with eventual application in military, space, medical, industrial, and home functions. The camera employs arrays of 132,000 thin-film elements deposited on four glass slides only one-inch square to perform functions similar to those of a pickup tube and picture-processing elements in a standard TV camera. Contained in the lower portion of the device as shown here is a miniature transistorized transmitter that broadcasts picture signals to a special receiver that is located across the room.
Applications Technology Satellite. This is the new 790-lb satellite that was launched from Cape Kennedy early in December, This satellite, the ATS-1, is expected to bring practical benefits to mankind from space technology. It has already been placed in a synchronous orbit at the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line. From this point it has relayed conversations between a ground flight controller in the U.S. to a number of commercial and government aircraft flying over the Pacific and the United States. It has also photographed weather conditions and relayed color-TV signals. Five ATS satellites are being built by Hughes.
VOR Radio-Range Antenna System. Resembling a giant mushroom ring, these antennas guide jet aircraft in rugged mountains near Ruedesheim, Germany. Previous systems were afflicted with dangerous errors due to reflections of the radio waves from the craggy mountain peaks. The antenna system, developed by Standard Elektrik Lorenz, ITT subsidiary, is employed in a Doppler v.h.f. omnidirectional radio range. The pattern of the new VOR antenna is identical with that of the standard system and aircraft equipment need not be modified.
CCTV Weather Briefing System. Weathervision-a closed-circuit television system for briefing pilots on weather and flight conditions-is to be used by our Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command in the U.S. and Europe. The closed-circuit camera scans information displayed on the console, then relays the picture to monitors in briefing rooms distant from the central control point. Two-way audio hookup permits conversation between briefing officer and pilots. Some 72 such systems are being installed at 67 bases under a $3 million contract awarded to Canoga Electronics.
High-Speed Fiber-Optic CRT Oscillograph. A new recording oscillograph which makes use of a special fiberoptic cathode-ray tube to achieve unprecedented direct printout writing speeds is shown here. The measured signal, also monitored by the small scope at the upper right, is recorded on 6-in-wide photosensitive paper that passes over the face of the tube during operation. The instrument, introduced by Honeywell, will measure and record high-frequency analog data at up to one million hertz, and has a data print-out capability nearly 100 times faster than any other direct-write system on the market. Writing speed is more than a million inches/sec.
Posted September 3, 2019 (original 4/19/2012)