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.

5 comments
  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.