The Body Electric

Engineers dream of electric implants

1 min read
Photo: Randi Klett
Photo: Randi Klett

The dream of using electrotechnologies to control human physiology is an old one, as this ad from June 1967 attests. Written in the style of a research report only broadly related to the advertiser’s business—a popular format in IEEE Spectrum’s early years—this ad identifies the brain, heart, diaphragm, bladder, and limbs as fruitful areas for electrical stimulation. It also predicts increased experimentation and exploration of ways to technologically better our bodies. As this month’s special issue of Spectrum shows, it wasn’t wrong.

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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
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How Ted Hoff Invented the First Microprocessor
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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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