Technology from past

in StemSocial3 months ago (edited)

Technology is amazing and the rate at which it evolves is mind blowing. At home I have multiple items that used to be common but nowadays are obsolete. Well, this sounds like I'm really old. Sadly I haven't held punch cards in my hands, though I would buy a pack (and maybe a reader?).

The items that come to my mind include

  • CPUs
  • floppy disks (different sized)
  • EEPROMs
  • logic gates (you know what's a logic gate, right?)

This beauty below was rather easy to reach - it was protected just by a metal case on top. You see the little traces and paths in the chip above? These are wires! By the way, it looks big but in reality, it's tiny. The width of what you see is something like 7 mm (for the Imperial unit users - about a quarter of an inch).


The circuit board of an electronic component from the 80s or so (own photo).

You probably noticed how my previous paragraph started with the fact that reaching the chip was easy. Well, this is because... modern chips are made indestructible! I'm not joking! You can read about all kinds of stories and crazy experiments - from boiling in concentrated sulphuric acid to producing fuming nitric acid in a home lab... well, this latter part is something I'm not willing to try. At least not in my kitchen. Oh, and if you're wondering what's fuming nitric acid... you don't want to know. The toxic corrosive reddish brown fumes of nitrogen dioxide coming out of the equipment tell enough about it.

I managed to reach the one below, though, and I'm really happy with the result. It came from an old SD card. The major part of the memory card is a repeating structure when data gets saved. But a memory card is not just the storage space - there is a controller that tells it what to do. And this is what the controller of my SD cards looks like.


This a small chip from an SD card - but it's the control unit, not the flash memory (own picture).

I have more to tell about chips and the beautiful colours produced on the silicon surface but that deserves a separate article.

At my parents' place I have more old treasures like

  • a Walkman
  • audio cassettes
  • VHCs
  • video cassette player

Also I have a tamagochi, well, not an original one but a cute electronic pet. When I was a child I really wanted a tetris, too, but I never got one! Mommy... 😥

I was thinking whether to add CDs and DVDs to the list, too. I've used them massively but nowadays computers no longer have a CD drive...


An audio cassette (Picture source: Unsplash)

This turned out to be more of a visual article than informative but I'll write more on microchips in a future article.

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Oh I definitely know the struggles of the modern day circuit board 🤣 the metals are usually laser printed onto the boards now so you really need to destroy the board and smelt it to get the metals out

No way! I'm not one of those idiots who think they'll get rich by getting the gold pins of the CPU out. I admire their beauty and when I eventually open a chip, I put it into a box to make sure I don't damage the silicon.

So... Maybe I'm the idiot cuz I fed circuit boards to a makeshift bioreactor to extract gold 😅😅😅

Apologies for the harsh language. I didn't mean this to be a personal offence.

No no I did do it but it wasn't offensive in any way! Don't worry about it so much ☺️

Good 😊 thanks ☺️

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