What’s That? (#105)

Puzzle Series: What is this, or what do you want it to be?

  • jerryfi_99 3y

    Looks like core memory, but I've not seen packaging like that before. I'm guessing the packaging was done after it was decided not to use them, IOW, to preserve as relics.
  • tgran 3y

    Hope they did a core dump first. Apollo?

    I want some. Very geeky.
  • Jitze Couperus 3y

    Looks like very fine memory cores encased in liquid-gel bags and with no visible external connection interface through which to read/write/erase the memory - levitating just above the front-door mat of a residence that harbors a pet with long white hairs.


    A cost-reduced (more sustainable - less plastic) replacement for those little shampoo bottles you find in hotels - these are individual single-use shampoo sachets containg en extra special ingredient for rejuventing that tired listless looking hair - consisting of a special protein found only in the spawn of miniature frogs that lay their eggs strung together for survivability.
  • Ramones Karaoke 3y

    Pillows for very very tiny glam rockers. Or possibly the little chidren of Stonehenge, should they be mysteriously reincarnated in the 1970s and need a glammy nap.
  • Luke 3y

    A Welcome mat. And although Welcome mats are by their nature receptive, this one's reception strength is stronger than most: four bars.
  • Leino Olé 3y

    your new favorite geek cufflinks made from core memory?
  • solerena 3y

    Blue dolphins in two dimentional multiverse:D
  • David Seaton 3y

  • js brain 3y

    If cufflinks with what?
  • aaron_f 3y

    core memory cufflinks. never seen cores that small before though
  • Steve Jurvetson 3y

    Bingo Leino Olé – my cousin knows me well... but just about everyone was on the right track. At full size the cores are quite visible. For anyone unfamiliar with this technology, it was the standard for digital memory prior to IC memories. A digital 1 or 0 depended on the magnetization of the little iron rings. I have a set of photos of core memories that I have on display at the office.

    I had one damaged board from long ago that was sitting on a shelf. I thought the fabric might make a good cufflink, a little tapestry of technology, ensconced in a magnifying epoxy overcoat. I had purchased some cool recycled technology cufflinks from Megan at Techcycled, and thought she might like some fodder for a new set of cuffs.

    Here is what I had from her from before:
  • Jitze Couperus 3y

    I've never seen cores that small...the ones I am familiar with were all threaded by human (predominantly female) hands using a magnifying glass, tweezers, and some mechanical levers to attenuate (reverse magnify) physical movement. Any idea what era or device these cores came out of?
  • Steve Jurvetson 3y

    It may have been from an Ampex VCR (storing a few video lines to delay timing for sync purposes). It looked a lot like the one in the upper right corner here:

    Core Memory Room

    The core sizes shrank with each year, moving from hand assembled to semi-automated (with a lot of human rework) to fully automated weaves, like this one (probably from the early 80's, long after DRAM and SRAM were on the rise):

    Solar Flair
  • megannissen 3y

    It's not every day that I get to play with something as epic as core memory -- thanks SJ!
  • Jim Rees 3y

    I had a job running Ampex VTRs in the 1970s. Ours had lumped delay lines consisting of fixed inductors and varactors. The transverse scan Ampexes only needed one line of delay, which would be a few hundred samples of eight bits each if it were done digitally. The digital delays came along later for color helical scan machines that needed much longer delay times. I think the guy who invented the digital delay line for VTR use got an Emmy for it.

    I was not aware of any that used core memory, but the first time I saw a helical scan machine that could do color was early 1970s, so it may have had core. The Mostek MK4096 was 4K bits and came out in 1973, according to Wikipedia.
  • Steve Jurvetson 3y

    Jim Rees - wow, fantastic. So glad to find this opportunistic linkage. You mention the Mostek MK4096 in 1973... Small world again.... See:
    early chips
    There are a number of "Ampex core memory boards" on google, including this current eBay listing, which claims:

    Vintage Ampex 16k Ferrite Core Memory Circuit Boards:
    • Rare Vintage Ampex Core Memory Board dated circa late-70’s (original price >$11,000 ea)

    • Ampex Part #3280687 (shown on top control board), Assembly #3256702 (shown on protective cover of the ferrite core board)

    • Used in the Space Shuttle Program with the NASA/ESA Mitra 125 Spacelab ground computers for both flight code development and ground systems checkout

    • 16k x 18 bits memory configuration (16 bit word + 1 parity bit + 1 protection bit)

    megannissen — note that they say they have 10+ boards available... Mass production potential... =)
  • Steve Jurvetson 3y

    P.S. Back to the 'cuffs, they were just blogged by Techcycled
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Taken on October 13, 2012
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