Electronic Design


Flashback > 10 Years Ago

OCTOBER 15, 1992
The burgeoning market for handheld (palmtop) computers and personal digital support tools has almost flattened the playing field for CPU suppliers. This up-and-coming class of microprocessor-based products no longer relies on MS-DOS or any other established operating system to provide a software compatibility base. The new applications targeted by these handheld devices also require the development of many new programs—existing programs, even if they're suitable, would need to be virtually rewritten to optimize their use with the streamlined user interfaces and power management required on the palm-size hardware.

To attack the handheld market, designers at AT&T Microelectronics have developed a low-power, high-performance 32-bit processor based on reduced-instruction-set computing (RISC) approaches. Although superficial descriptions of the CPU, code-named Hobbit, have circulated around the industry for several months, the CPU chip is just one of five chips in addition to a multichip modem developed by the company to take on the personal communications market. (Product Innovation, p. 92)

Flashback > 25 Years Ago

OCTOBER 11, 1977
The latest advance in remotely operated color television receivers is a second channel-monitoring capability, which is being offered in sets just introduced by Barco Electronics of Belgium.

Using charge-coupled devices, Barco engineers have been able to design a system that inserts a miniature image of the program presented on a second channel in the top left-hand corner of the program being viewed. A viewer simply presses the CCD mode switch on the remote control unit and then punches in the number of the second channel to be monitored.

Two receiver sections are used to produce the individual video signals. The second video signal is then read into two charge-coupled devices, which reduce the bandwidth from 5 MHz to 1.6 MHz. By reading the signal out of the CCD at a three-times-faster rate, the 5-MHz bandwidth is restored.

Read-in and read-out operations to the CCD are synchronized by the field and sync pulses of the main video signal. As a result, the two video signals can be combined and displayed as one on the TV screen. (News Scope, p. 20)

Flashback > 40 Years Ago

OCTOBER 11, 1962
Two large lunar models will provide the nation's astronauts with scientific information needed for an approach to the moon. The lunar orbit and landing approach simulator is being developed by Radio Corp. of America, Camden, N.J., for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It will show on film what it will be like to approach the moon from a 200-mile orbit.

Basic components of the device are two moon models and a camera system. One model will be a 20-ft-diam plexiglass globe using detailed photographs and even the Soviet Union's Lunik TV pictures of the moon's far side. The other model will be a segment of a moon model 90 ft in diameter with a detailed bas-relief map.

The camera system, running on a 40-ft track, will photograph one model or the other, depending upon the distance being simulated.... The sun's reflection on the moon is simulated by mercury lights within the plexiglass globe. Sunlight on the moon segment is represented by mercury lights placed behind it. (News, p. 39)

TAGS: Components
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