Information (Sep, 1952)
This article is the last in Scientific American series on Automatic Control. It covers Information theory and processing. It has some great tidbits such as primitive tagging system for books by Vanevar Bush that used binary coded descriptors on microfilm. Also I’d have to say the author deserves to gloat over this quote: “It is almost certain that “bit” will become common parlance in the field of information, as “horsepower” is in the motor field.”
The surprising discovery that it is subject to the same statistical treatment as heat facilitates its storage and handling in automatic control systems
by Gilbert W. King
THE “lifeblood” of automatic control is information. To receive and act on information is the essential function of every control system, from the simplest to the most complex. It follows that to understand and apply automatic control successfully we must understand the nature of information itself. This is not as simple as it may seem. Information, and the communication of it, is a rather subtle affair, and we are only beginning to approach an exact understanding of its elusive attributes.
CATV Is Coming to Your Town (Jun, 1970)
The last sentence is the kicker: “Some experts are predictingâ€”for less than the cost of the family carâ€” a complete home communications terminal with access to computer libraries, two-way video, and hundreds of input channels. Cable TV could make it all come true. ”
Once just a way to get signals to distant places, cable TV is now growing fast even in big cities. Here’s why
CATV Is Coming to Your Town
One of these days soon, a salesman will ring your doorbell and offer a special service called cable TV. “Why bother?” you may ask. “I’m perfectly satisfied with the reception I’m getting now on my five [if you're average] channels.” True, you may be getting good TV reception. But CATV (Community Antenna TV) will offer you better reception, and more. Added up, here is what you will get:
â€¢ The five channels you would usually pull in with your antennaâ€” but much sharper and clearer.
â€¢ Three, maybe four, other stations from other cities. Two or three of them will probably duplicate much of the network programing you’re already getting. But one or two may be independents that you have no way of seeing, short of moving to the next town. That’s a total of nine channels off the air.
â€¢ Three local channelsâ€”continuously broadcasting time/weather, news/stock ticker, and local live broadcastsâ€”from town meetings to high-school ball games. That’s 12 channels so far.
â€¢ There’s more coming: pay TV on the cable. This is the most exciting home-entertainment prospect of all. Pay cable channels will cost extra.
An Automatic Machine Tool (Sep, 1952)
This is the fourth in a series of 5 articles I’ve scanned from an amazing 1952 issue of Scientific American about Automatic Control. Discussing automatic machine tools, feedback loops, and the role of computers in manufacturing and information theory, these are really astounding articles considering the time in which they were written.
This article is a fascinating exploration of the history and state of the art in automatic machine tools as of 1952. This is the CAM in CAD/CAM.
An Automatic Machine Tool
Feedback control has begun to advance in the working of metals. Presenting the first account of a milling machine that converts information on punched tape into the contours of a finished part.
by William Pease
THE metal-cutting industry is one field in which automatic control has been late in arriving. The speed, judgment and especially the flexibility with which a skilled machinist controls his machine tool have not been easily duplicated by automatic machines. Only for mass-production operations such as the making of automobile parts has it been feasible to employ automatic machinery. New developments in feedback control and machine computation, however, are now opening the door to automatization of machine tools built to produce a variety of parts in relatively small quantities.
The problem will be clearer if we first review briefly the history of machine tools and their relationship to manufacturing processes. The story begins in the last quarter of the 18th century. Prior to that time the tools of the millwright, as the machinist of that day was called, consisted chiefly of the hammer, chisel and file. His measurements were made with a wooden rule and crude calipers. His materials were prepared either by hand-forging or by rudimentary foundry casting. Crude, hand-powered lathes were already in existence, but they were used only for wood-turning or occasionally for making clock parts.
PAT does the talking (Dec, 1958)
This ia brief article about a speech synthesizer, but in the last paragraph it sounds like they were actually doing research into psychoacoustic audio compression.
PAT does the talking
“PAT” is the nickname given to a British talking machine which creates all the sounds that are normally used in speaking, and can string them together to produce the illusion of complete words and phrases. It can, in fact, talk.
In place of the human vocal cords, PAT (short for Parametric Artificial Talker) has an electron tube oscillator. In place of tongue and lips which normally vary the size of the mouth cavities, electrical resonators are provided and their resonant frequencies varied.
What’s it like to be a Boeing engineer? (Sep, 1952)
My favorite part is the caption: “Solving a dynamics problem with the Boeing Computer”. THE Boeing computer? What just the one? Do they all have to share?
What’s it like to be a Boeing engineer?
Boeing engineers enjoy many advantages â€” among them the finest re-search facilities in the industry. These include such advanced aids as the Boeing-designed, Boeing-built Electronic Analog Computer shown above.
This is part of the stimulating background that helps Boeing men maintain the leadership and prestige of an
Engineering Division that’s been growing steadily for 35 years.
THE ROLE OF THE COMPUTER (Sep, 1952)
This is the third in a series of 5 articles I’ve scanned from an amazing 1952 issue of Scientific American about Automatic Control. Discussing automatic machine tools, feedback loops, and the role of computers in manufacturing and information theory, these are really astounding articles considering the time in which they were written.
THE ROLE OF THE COMPUTER
The multifarious control loops of a fully automatic factory must be gathered into one big loop. This can best be done by means of a digital computing machine
by Louis N. Ridenour
IF THE thermostat is a prime elementary example of the principle of automatic control, the computer is its most sophisticated expression. The thermostat and other simple control mechanisms, such as the automatic pilot and engine-governor, are specialized devices limited to a single function. An automatic pilot can control an airplane but would be helpless if faced with the problem of driving a car. Obviously for fully automatic control we must have mechanisms that simulate the generalized abilities of a human being, who can operate the damper on a furnace, drive a car or fly a plane, set a rheostat to control a voltage, work the throttle of an engine, and do many other things besides. The modern computer is the first machine to approach such general abilities.
Computer is really an inadequate name for these machines. They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them. The name has somewhat obscured the fact that they are capable of much greater generality. When these machines are applied to automatic control, they will permit a vast extension of the control artâ€” an extension from the use of rather simple specialized control mechanisms, which merely assist a human operator in doing a complicated task, to over-all controllers which will supervise a whole job. They will be able to do so more rapidly, more reliably, more cheaply and with just as much ingenuity as a human operator.
FEEDBACK (Sep, 1952)
This is the second in a series of 5 articles I’ve scanned from an amazing 1952 issue of Scientific American about Automatic Control. It discusses automatic machine tools, feedback loops, the role of computers in manufacturing and information theory. These are really astounding articles considering the time in which they were written.
It is the fundamental principle that underlies all self-regulating systems, not only machines but also the processes of life and the tides of human affairs
by Arnold Tustin
FOR hundreds of years a few examples of true automatic control systems have been known. A very early one was the arrangement on windmills of a device to keep their sails always facing into the wind. It consisted simply of a miniature windmill which could rotate the whole mill to face in any direction. The small mill’s sails were at right angles to the main ones, and whenever the latter faced in the wrong direction, the wind caught the small sails and rotated the mill to the correct position. With steam power came other automatic mechanisms: the engine-governor, and then the steering servo-engine on ships, which operated the rudder in correspondence with movements of the helm. These devices, and a few others such as simple voltage regulators, constituted man’s achievement in automatic control up to about 20 years ago.