Traditionally, heavy vehicles have beepers that activate during backing, alerting others to their prescience. The problem with these is that they are difficult to locate spatially. Enter the white noise beep. There are easier for humans to locate and are replacing the old tonal alarms. As explained:
Finally, a Taxi that made sense. The Alfa Romeo New York Taxi was a concept car designed by Italdesign in 1976 at the invitation of New York Museum of Modern Art.
It had a length of 4m, a height of 1.8m and could seat five. It also featured a flat floor, space to store wheelchairs, storage under the seats, and sliding doors on both sides, being one of the first cars to have them.
It is based on the front-wheel drive running gear of the Alfa Romeo F12 van, including a 1.3L petrol engine and independent suspension front and rear
Some of the design principles explored with the New York Taxi were expanded upon with the Lancia Megagamma, a less boxy, more streamlined prototype that gave form to the modern multi-purpose vehicle. Sadly, the vehicle was never made.
Konrad Zuse, a German engineer (b. 1910) died on this day in 1995. He designed the Z3 computer.
The Z3 was the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic digital computer. It was built with 2,600 relays, implementing a 22-bit word length that operated at a clock frequency of about 4–5 Hz. Program code was stored on punched film. The initial values were entered manually.
The Z3 was completed in Berlin in 1941 but was not considered vital, so it was never put into everyday operation. Based on the work of Hans Georg Küssner’s “Program to Compute a Complex Matrix” it was written and used to solve wing flutter problems.
Zuse asked the German government for funding to replace the relays with fully electronic switches, but funding was denied during World War II since such development was deemed “not war-important”.
The original Z3 was destroyed on 21 December 1943 during an Allied bombardment of Berlin. The Z3 was originally called V3 (Versuchsmodell 3 or Experimental Model 3) but was renamed to not be confused with Germany’s V-weapons.
A fully functioning replica was built in 1961 by Zuse’s company, Zuse KG.
On this day in 1947 a moth lodges in a relay of a Harvard Mark II computer at Harvard University, causing the first case of a computer bug.
The Harvard Mark II, also known as Aiken Relay Calculator, was a computer built under the direction of Howard Aiken and was finished in 1947. It was financed by the United States Navy. Howard Aiken and Grace Hopper worked together to program and build the Mark II.