By ARTHUR FISHER / Group Editor, Science and Engineering I watched the familiar cold blue light of an argon laser lance into the center of a shiny stainless-steel device festooned with lengths of plastic piping. My host, Dr. Otis G. Peterson of Kodak Research Laboratories in Rochester, N. Y., made a few final adjustments of the vernier controls. Then he said "There it goes."
No-finger dialing It’s here at last—relief for your throbbing dialing finger. Just slip this plastic card into Bell Labs’ experimental dialer phone and the number is dialed automatically. The card could also be used to transmit information over telephone lines to computers, or even to check bank balances.
3-D trip inside a drawing, via computer graphics Slip this display device on your head and you see a computer-generated 3-D image of a room before your eyes. Move your head and your perspective changes, just as though you were actually inside the room. Architects could use the device to draw buildings in three dimensions; [...]
Researchers are developing astonishing ways to deal with one of man's stickiest problems—taking out the garbage By C. P. GILMORE ILLUSTRATIONS BY RAY PIOCH Some of the most exciting ideas and devices I've seen and heard of lately are designed to deal with one of the least exciting substances in existence —garbage. Thousands of top scientists and engineers around the country are turning their talents toward just one goal: getting rid of the tidal wave of junk that threatens to drown us and, at the same time, salvaging at least some of the millions of tons of valuable materials that we toss into our garbage cans each year.
Wow, when you put that tape next to an incredibly gigantic coin, it makes it seem smaller! Pocket-size recorder Drop a minicassette into this miniature, 10-ounce dictating machine, and put 30 minutes of your thoughts on tape. That, says Dictaphone Corp., is 3,000 words or 30 average business letters. Record, playback, rewind, and volume controls [...]
Ben Franklin invented it 223 years ago. Now we're finding overlooked possibilities in the electrostatic motor. By C. P. GILMORE / PS Executive Editor. and WILLIAM j. HAWKINS / PS Electronics Editor. Would you believe an electric motor made almost entirely of plastic? That can run on power transmitted through open air? And sneak free electricity right out of the earth's electrical field? At the University of West Virginia we saw a laboratory full of such exotic devices spinning, humming, and buzzing away like a swarm of bees. They are electrostatic motors, run by charges similar to those that make your hair stand on end when you comb it on a cold winter's day.
Picture fuddling by computer Can you identify this face? It’s a well-known President who freed the slaves and was shot in Ford’s theatre. Still stumped? Try viewing it at arm’s length, or squinting, or jiggling the page rapidly. This picture represents a Bell Labs experiment to learn the least amount of visual information a picture [...]