Electronic Design

Flashback

FLASHBACK > 10 YEARS AGO

NOVEMBER 25, 1992
This decade may well be called the decade of convergence. The merging of computing and communication technologies, the convergence of professional and consumer electronics, the blending of computers and measurement instruments—all will transform our professional and personal lives before the end of the decade....

We believe these trends will result in, among other things, the development of a vast digital data utility that users can easily tap into. Offering a myriad of services, this global information utility will let people share information of any kind—such as video, audio, and text....

As the telecommunications industry moves toward digital technology, data communications and telecommunications will converge. Thus, the same network, or information highway, will carry voice and different types of data. Wireless communications will give users access to this information any time, anywhere. With a global public network, mail will routinely reach its destination in seconds instead of days. (By John Young, Hewlett-Packard Co., 40th Anniversary Special Issue, The Leaders, p. 57)

FLASHBACK > 25 YEARS AGO

NOVEMBER 22, 1977
With the electronics at the test socket converted from discrete to hybrid and monolithic form, the Sentry automatic test system from Fairchild Systems Technology Division can handle 120 pins—twice as many as before.

The Sentry VIII's circuitry, mounted on cards near the test socket, includes comparators, converters, and op amps used for such analog measurements as level and polarity. In earlier designs, the cards were too large to mount 120 of them close enough to the test socket to minimize measurement errors caused by stray capacitance and other effects.

Each of the Sentry VIII's pins can be programmed to act as an input driver, output comparator, input clock, bias supply, load, or input/output. The earlier Sentry VII system has the same flexibility, but only up to 60 pins....

The Sentry VIII can perform functional tests at up to 10 MHz by feeding data into the device under test and comparing the device's outputs with expected values. In addition, the tester can check dc parameters at rates to 300 tests per second. (News Scope, p. 22)

FLASHBACK > 40 YEARS AGO

NOVEMBER 22, 1962
Molecular circuit logic has beenincorporated in a new high-speed, airborne digital computer. The equivalent of 20,000 components and 4096 words, of 24 bits each, are packed in a 0.75-ft3 prototype unit that weighs 40 lb.

The computer, dubbed MAGIC, has been under development for some time at General Motors' AC Spark Plug Div., El Segundo, Calif. It was among several developments described at the hardware-dominated Spaceborne Computer Engineering Conference....

Still only in the prototype stage, the MAGIC computer is a serial, random-access machine with a coincident-current, toroidal-core memory with 4096-word capacity. Its logic functions are implemented with Fairchild Micrologic elements.

Power consumption for the prototype is 90 w, with 66 w consumed in the Micrologic and 24 w in the core memory. A production model reportedly would weigh 35 lb and take up 0.64 ft3....

There are about 2100 Micrologic elements in the computer. (News, p. 22)

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