Robot Arms, a Radar Antenna, and a Stick-On Docking System: Finally, My Jetpack Has Arrived

Though it never flew, this 1969 astronaut prototype influenced later NASA models

2 min read
Photo of the “modular EVA work platform,” developed by the Bendix Corp. in 1969
Photo: Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

imgBoosters Away! This “modular EVA work platform,” developed by the Bendix Corp. in 1969, was intended to ferry astronauts on short hops in space.Photo: Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

In 1965, Ed White became the first American to perform a spacewalk when he stepped out of the Gemini IV capsule and floated in space for about 20 minutes. He liked it so much, he said, that returning to the capsule was “the saddest moment of my life.” White had been beaten to the first spacewalk ever by cosmonaut Alexei Leonov several months earlier. But the American had the advantage of having a way to maneuver himself in space, thanks to a compressed-air gun. More sophisticated personal space-propulsion systems were already in the works.

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How Ted Hoff Invented the First Microprocessor

Hoff thought designing 12 custom chips for a calculator was crazy, so he created the Intel 4004

14 min read
How Ted Hoff Invented the First Microprocessor

The rays of the rising sun have barely reached the foothills of Silicon Valley, but Marcian E. (Ted) Hoff Jr. is already up to his elbows in electronic parts, digging through stacks of dusty circuit boards. This is the monthly flea market at Foothill College, and he rarely misses it.

Ted Hoff is part of electronics industry legend. While a research manager at Intel Corp., then based in Mountain View, he realized that silicon technology had advanced to the point that, with careful engineering, a complete central processor could fit on a chip. Teaming up with Stanley Mazor and Federico Faggin, he created the first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004.

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