SOS Detective… (Mar, 1947)

SOS Detective…

Translating distress signals into beams of light, this Navy-developed rescue aid speedily plots the position of ships or planes in trouble at sea. Tiny camera projectors interpret bearings received from direction-finding stations; the intersection of their beams on the map indicates the position of the craft in distress. The dial above the chart automatically gives the course to the position.

  1. Hirudinea says: December 31, 20125:51 pm

    Doesn’t look to accurate, wouldn’t it just be simpler to triangulate the position on a map?

  2. Hirudinea says: December 31, 20125:51 pm

    (By map I mean a paper map.)

  3. Bill Thompson says: January 1, 20138:47 am

    The point of the machine is increased speed and automatic triangulation. It doesn’t have to be pinpoint-accurate — it gives you a heading and puts you on your way; there’s time for more accurate triangulation once you’re en route.

  4. Toronto says: January 1, 20133:26 pm

    A few years after this, my mother was still working as a “computer” and doing the math to calculate interception points for incoming bombers vs fighters. That took a few more calculations that this, as there was a moving target, a third point (the interceptor position) and a speed differential to take into consideration. To make things interesting, they used spherical geometry (ie great circle routes) that didn’t overly onto standard maps especially well.

  5. Hirudinea says: January 1, 20134:45 pm

    @ Toronto – Now there’s something you never hear about anymore, a human “computer”, tell kids today that your Mom was a computer and they’ll probably ask to see your USB port.

Submit comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.