The Incredible Machine

An interesting short film that was originally released in 1968 by Bell Telephone Laboratories, The Incredible Machine details the advancements being made in the field of computing and digital technology at the time. Featuring the ‘Graphic 1’ computer system which itself was designed by Bell Labs we get a taste of digital music composition, electronic circuit design, digital movie production, digital voice modulation, etc.

The Bell Labs ‘Graphic 1’ computer system consisted of a Digital Equipment Corporation ‘PDP-5’ computer coupled with input devices such as the ‘Type 370’ light pen and Teletype Corporation ‘Teletype Model 33’ keyboard, married to a Digital Equipment Corporation ‘Type 340’ precision incremental display backed by 36-bit Ampex ‘RVQ’ buffer memory capable of storing 4096 ‘words’. The resolution on the monitor was 1024×1024.

This system was designed to transform the graphics-based input into output to be fed into a IBM ‘7094’ (200 Kflop/s). The entire thing was attached to a microfilm-based recorder – the Stromberg Carlson ‘SC 4020’, which took hours to read and record the data.

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