10 YEARS AGO — 2003
Be the next Dick Tracy: Wear your PDA on your wrist. That’s the idea of new Palm-powered watches from Fossil Inc., Dallas. The Wrist PDA is sleek, compact, and lightweight, says Fossil, and fully compatible with the Palm OS platform from PalmSource Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif. Contract manufacturer Flextronics, Singapore, developed the Wrist PDA, bringing it from concept to completion in just five months. The Wrist PDA sports an illuminated touchscreen with a stylus tucked into the band for Graffiti input, 2-Mbyte internal memory, a rocker switch, and rechargeable battery. An infrared port supports beaming between all Palm-powered devices. Applications already loaded into the watch include Address Book, Date Book, Memo Pad, Calculator, and To Do List.
30 YEARS AGO — 1983
Longest ball screw?: A 60-ft precision- ground ball-bearing leadscrew was turned out recently by 20th Century Machine Co., Sterling Heights, Mich. The firm believes the ball screw is the longest ever produced in the U.S. The screw will be used on a lathe that will turn the outside diameter of a large forging. The screw boasts a thread tolerance within 0.005 in. per lineal foot. An internal ball-return circuit totally enclosed within the nut body protects against damage during shipment and installation, as well as during operation.
50 YEARS AGO —
1963 The latest wrinkle in tire manufacturing are tiny metal kerfs that put vertical ridges inside grooves, reinforcing the tread. Ridges present after the kerfs are removed make the tire more rugged, keep stones out, and increase wear by reducing squirming action of tread elements as they contact the road. The kerfs are used by B.F. Goodrich Tire Co. in molding its new Extra Miler truck tires, and the company credits them with extending tire life by 32%.