CLOSE

Drawing with a Computer in 1963

Ivan Sutherland created a computer program called Sketchpad in the early 1960's as his PhD thesis. These were the days of punch-card programming, which meant that making a complex interactive program was extremely challenging -- particularly if it needed to use an interactive Graphical User Interface, which was unheard of at the time. But that's what Sutherland did -- Sketchpad was an interactive drawing program in which the user drew with a light-pen while pressing switches alongside the screen. Sketchpad basically invented a category of software -- Computer Aided Drafting, or CAD -- and it all ran on a 1958 computer with roughly 272k of memory. (By comparison, the laptop I'm typing on now has 15,420 times as much memory, but no light pen.)

In the video below, computer pioneer Alan Kay discusses a famous video of Sutherland's Sketchpad demo. This is some nerdy, but important, computer history. Kay says: "I once asked Ivan Sutherland: 'How could you possibly have done the first interactive graphics program, the first nonprocedural programming language, the first object oriented software system, all in one year? He said, 'Well, I didn't know it was hard.'"

For more 60's video on Sketchpad, check out this movie and its second part.

Original image
iStock
arrow
technology
Take a Look Inside the 1987 Consumer Electronics Show
Original image
iStock

Since June 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show has provided a venue for tech companies to show off their hottest products for the upcoming year. It’s also become a way to measure the progression of technology over recent decades, as the video below shows.

According to Sploid, the footage was filmed by Art Vuolo at the Consumer Electronics Show held in Chicago in the summer of 1987. The 30-year-old tape chronicles a time when camcorders, VCRs, and “portable” TVs were considered cutting-edge gadgetry. As we know, it would only be a few decades until those items served more of a purpose as kitschy craft supplies than actual hardware.

After watching part one of Vuolo’s series, check out the other three videos from the event which include a Casio synth guitar and an early video phone.

[h/t Sploid]

Original image
iStock
arrow
technology
Wisconsin Software Company Will Microchip Its Employees
Original image
iStock

Typically, pets—not people—are microchipped. But as NBC News reports, one Wisconsin-based company plans to become the first business in the country to offer the tiny implants to its employees.

Three Square Market (32M), a software design firm in River Falls, Wisconsin, will begin providing the chips starting August 1. The rice-sized implants—which cost around $300 each—will be implanted in the hands of staffers between the thumb and the forefinger, and will allow them to purchase vending-machine snacks, open secured doors, or log into their computers with the wave of a hand. The company says the chips are optional.

32M is partnering with Swedish-based BioHax International to install the chips, which were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004. The chips utilize electromagnetic fields to identify electronically stored data, and near-field communications, a technology that's used in contactless credit cards.

Fifty company members—including CEO Todd Westby—are expected to volunteer to receive the implants, according to a company statement. The company will foot the bill for the implants.

32M's microchipping program may sound unconventional, but the company—which owns machines that can use microchips—says it's simply riding the wave of the future.

"We see chip technology as the next evolution in payment systems, much like micro markets have steadily replaced vending machines," 32M's Westby said in the statement. "As a leader in micro market technology, it is important that 32M continues leading the way with advancements such as chip implants."

As microchipping becomes more common, Westby added, people will use the technology to shop, travel, and ride public transit.

The company says the chips are easily removable and can't be hacked or used to track recipients. However, some experts have argued the technology is an invasion of privacy, and that it could lead to heightened employee scrutiny.

"If most employees agree, it may become a workplace expectation," Vincent Conitzer, a computer science professor at Duke University, told NBC News. "Then, the next iteration of the technology allows some additional tracking functionality. And so it goes until employees are expected to implant something that allows them to be constantly monitored, even outside of work."

[h/t NBC News]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios