Bell Labs Memoirs: Voices of Innovation

Bell Labs Memoirs - Voices of Innovation (Paperback)
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Zajac, Frank Sinden, and Kenneth C. Knowlton , and digital computer music Max V. Mathews and John R. Noll spent nearly fifteen years performing basic research at Bell Labs in Murray Hill , New Jersey in such areas as the effects of media on interpersonal communication, three-dimensional computer graphics and animation, human-machine tactile communication, speech signal processing, cepstrum pitch determination, [2] [3] and aesthetics.

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Noll used a digital computer to create artistic patterns and formalized the use of random and algorithmic processes in the creation of visual arts. In Noll, along with two other pioneers within the field of early computer art, Frieder Nake and Georg Nees in Germany, exhibited publicly their computer art. Later in , Noll's digital computer art was exhibited along with the analogue computer art of Maughan Mason at the Fall Joint Computer conference in Las Vegas.

Noll proposed in the s that the digital computer might become a creative artistic medium. In the late s and early s, Noll constructed interactive three-dimensional input devices and displays and a three-dimensional, tactile, force-feedback "feelie" device US patent 3,, "Tactile Man-Machine Communications System" filed May 26, , issued November 1, This device was the forerunner of today's virtual-reality systems, and Noll suggested its use as a way for the blind to "feel" computer graphics.

He also demonstrated the potential of scanned raster displays for computer graphics. His experiment comparing a computer-generated pattern with a painting by Mondrian was an early implementation of the Turing Test and an example of the use of digital computers in investigations of aesthetics. In time this new artistic medium will be exploited to produce previously unknown effects combining color, depth, motion, and randomness in creative combinations. Noll has published over ninety professional papers, has been granted six patents, and is the author of ten books on various aspects of telecommunications , communications, and Bell Telephone Laboratories.

He has been a regular contributor of opinion and columnist pieces to newspapers and trade magazines with over published. At that time he knew he wanted to be close to Virginia Tyler. During that summer Cutler drove again and again to Maine, where Mr.

Gage provided a room for him at a local inn, the Lake House. Some of the young people had formed an orchestra, The Rhythm Ramblers, which practiced evenings in the community house. Virginia was the pianist and sat facing the side window. The sight of her concentrating on the music, framed by the window, Cutler described as a most attractive scene. It was a beautiful night and terribly romantic, flooded with the light of the moon. They played Truth or Consequences without the consequences. Afterward Cutler walked Virginia home.

Job opportunities were scarce in ; the economy had not quite recovered from the Depression and the laboratories, to reduce the costs, were open only four days a week. During the interview he met an erudite fatherly figure, Ralph Bown. Bown had pioneered in military radio communication during World War I and had made his way through the U.

Cutler described his antenna experiments and attempts at WPI to carrier-depressed modulation for communication. Bown was impressed, and they shared the vision that the science of the future was radio. There were no openings in the research departments in New York City, but Cutler was offered a position at a branch laboratory in Deal, New Jersey.

At Deal, research and development was centered on shortwave radio, high-power transmitter tubes, new antenna designs, and ionospheric radio propagation.

The Deal laboratory consisted of six buildings, a few shacks, and outhouses scattered over a acre field. The buildings were overshadowed by foot steel towers, wooden antenna poles, and mysterious antenna arrays.

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The main. There was a tennis court, a picnic area, and a softball field in a grove of giant maple trees.

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The site was on prime fallow, roughly mowed farmland, with Whale Pond brook running though the center. Schelleng, a veteran of the Army Signal Corp. Schelleng was well known for his paper on ionospheric radio propagation.

Cutler and McRae shared an office and half of the transmitter lab on the second floor of the main building. Initially they were assigned to design a high-power transmitter at 23 MHz using kW experimental tubes supplied by Sid Ingram in New York. They used a feedback amplifier configured as the transmitter stage, which required a delicate balance between the stray capacitances.

The grid and cathode were driven by the signals opposite each other in the optimum ratio. It proved to be stable, gave sufficient radio frequency feedback, improved linearity, and provided reasonable input impedance. One day Mervin Kelly, then director of research and later vice-president, came to Deal for a visit. Tell me about it only when you want to.

It was the culture and the wisdom of the management that made Bell Laboratories renowned worldwide, and the best place for research. After gaining experience on the kW transmitter tubes, Cutler and McRae embarked on another adventurous project: the development of a kW transmitter to operate at frequencies switchable from 4 MHz to 23 MHz with feedback over four stages of amplification.

The objective was to provide channel, single-sideband, multiplex telephony between the United States and England. They worked for two years until , when Bell Labs was diverted into military work in preparation for war. In Schelleng asked Cutler to work on the proximity fuse. The idea was to install a radio circuit in an explosive shell that would be shot from the ground toward an enemy airplane.

The circuit would sense the proximity of the airplane and send a signal to the ground to detonate the shell. The project was shortened by the success of a self-contained triggering circuit. Late in McRae and Cutler were asked to design and build waveguide plumbing for an X-band aircraft antenna. They received lots of advice.

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Cutler successfully built waveguide elbows, rotating joints, and connectors. McRae wanted to test the waveguide.

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The antenna and the waveguide feed were designed at the facility in Whippany, New Jersey. McRae built the assembly according to their design and mounted one antenna on the second floor of the main building and another in a remote location. They were able to measure the directivity pattern and field intensity versus elevation angle and azimuth. They obtained good pattern in the E plane or in the H plane but had to adjust the structure between measurements.

The beam width was about three degrees as required, but side lobes were one-tenth as strong as the main beam in one plane or the other, not close to the one-half percent power level required. Cutler hastily constructed more apparatus for measurements of amplitude, phase, and polarization of the radiation from the antenna feed. He tried various configurations of the assembly. Nothing seemed to work. Years later he returned to the labs as the department head, director, and vice-president.

Cutler was left alone with the antenna project. In the morning, I slapped my vision together with copper foil, solder and sealing wax, and I had quite a different horn structure and a good radiation pattern. I slimmed down the waveguide and channeled the energy into two relatively narrow slots on each side of the guide. I called it the Waveguide Splitting Head.

By varying its shape and size, I found a simple way to match the impedances. It was indeed a novel, ingenious design of the antenna feed. The two slots were located exactly half a wavelength apart. The radiations from the two slots reduced the energy. He used a screw in the splitting head to adjust field distributions in the two slots.

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It was simple, and it was reliable. Overnight Cutler became known as a radar expert and was consulted on various antenna designs. In the meantime he invented a variety of antenna feeds, including the corrugated waveguide, which years later was used in microwave devices. By then Cutler had the fame, a beautiful family, and a job he loved. In March with the war winding down, they began to work off the huge backlog that had accumulated in the telephone plant.

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The system involved the construction of a series of radio relay stations about 30 miles apart with 3 MHz of bandwidth, in 4 GHz channels. They selected the close-spaced triode for the repeater amplifier. Returning to Deal from the wartime assignment, Schelleng invited Cutler to listen to a presentation by John R. Pierce, who was going to describe the traveling wave tube TWT that he had learned about in his recent trip to England.