10 YEARS AGO — 2002
A robotic bug’s life: Hide your picnic baskets! The newest addition to the Cybug family of robots from Mondo-tronic’s Robot Store, San Rafael, Calif., is a giant Queen Ant. An optional Queen Ant Solar Wings add-on kit lets users add solar panels while a fully programmable Basic Stamp microcomputer lets them create and download new behaviors from a computer. The Cybug family includes an entire colony of robotic insect kits that interact, explore, and compete for survival. To keep themselves alive, for instance, they seek out “food sources,” basically the brightest light source, to recharge their batteries. The educational kits, suitable for intermediate robot builders or beginners with some soldering experience, combine elements of electronics, robotics, mechanics, and biology.
30 YEARS AGO — 1982
Thermal camera lets firefighters see through heavy smoke and quickly locate the source of the fire. The 8.8-lb batteryoperated camera is described by English Electric Valve Co., Great Britain, as having a pyroelectric vidicon tube that converts infrared radiation into a video signal. The germanium lens provides a wide viewing angle that gives the operator a clear image in the integral viewfinder/monitor.
50 YEARS AGO — 1962
Scaled-down combat — fought with miniature tanks — cut training costs at the U.S. Army Armor School, Fort Knox, Ky. Student commanders maneuver the radiocontrolled models over a /th-scale battlefield. The platoon- leader’s tank, equipped with a TV camera, presents a turret’s-eye view of the battlefield on a monitor. Instructors evaluate trainee performance by listening to commands and observing battle developments. General Dynamics/Electric Boat designed and built the experimental simulator for the Army Participation Group, Naval Devices Center, Port Washington, N.Y.