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May 1962 Radio-Electronics

May 1962 Radio-Electronics

May 1962 Radio-Electronics Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio-Electronics, published 1930-1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

Mssile Command arcade game - RF CafeProbably most people of my era (nee 1958) had their introduction to a track ball in a bowling alley or convenience store where a Missile Command (Sega) arcade machine installed. Most machines had either pushbutton or joystick directional control, but for the fast-moving action of Missile Command, you really needed the track ball. I never got really good at it (Asteroids and Donkey Kong were my area of expertise*), but the guys who were could whip that surface defense gun at lightning speed and pinpoint accuracy as the cascade of missiles came raining down from space. Their firing fingers would be a blur as they timed the barrage of shots with the track ball. Ah, those were the carefree days! A quarter was a lot to drop into a machine, but there were much more addictive, destructive, and expensive habits to consume you. This 1962 issue of Radio-Electronics reports on what would have been one of the first track ball designs. It was developed by Hughes Aircraft. The mechanism was purely electromechanical since there were no laser or even infrared diodes to use for counting light pulses through a perforated encoding disk. *My radar shop comrades and I spent a lot of time at the Robins AFB bowling alley playing the machines.

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Tunnel Diode-Transistor Modules - RF CafeBall Tracker - RF CafeTunnel Diode-Transistor Modules (left)operate at bit rates as high as 500 mc. They go together to form a computer system that can add four times as fast as conventional computers with only one-tenth of the circuit components. The G-E-built system is officially called a pumped tunnel diode-transistor logic system.


Ball Tracker (right) centers the pip on radar screen. The single control adjusts two potentiometers simultaneously, speeding the process considerably. Turning the ball moves the pip both horizontally and vertically at the same time and the operator has only the one control to fuss with, rather than two interdependent controls. The device is made by Hughes Aircraft.



Posted June 5, 2024

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