10 YEARS AGO — 2002
New transmission for diesels: A new five-speed automatic truck transmission, called TorqShift, for the 2003 F-Series Super Duty pickups and Excursion SUVs carrying 6.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engines, helps provide smoother shifts, according to Ford Motor Co.

A control system monitors the engine, transmission, vehicle speed, and driver inputs to optimize shift performance. A tow-haul feature adds more control by tailoring upshifts while carrying heavy loads, and it senses when there’s a need for more braking and automatically schedules the appropriate downshift. The control body uses solenoids to manage the clutch, eliminating the variability of conventional hydraulic spring/valve systems. An improved torque converter maximizes lowspeed torque, 550 lb-ft during peak operation.

30 YEARS AGO — 1982
An electric wheelchair, for children ages four to 16, is microcomputer controlled. Called Min I-OR by its developers Saab-Scania and Permobil AB, the chair maneuvers using a single lever requiring little pressure. Stepless speed regulation, in combination with a pivot suspension, results in quick and exact reactions. Seat size can be changed to fit the child and its top speed of 6”km/hr can be lowered. An electronic safety system continuously checks that the wheelchair is functioning correctly and, if not,. stops it. Also, if the control lever is released, the chair automatically brakes to a stop.

50 YEARS AGO — 1962
A negative and quarter placed in the Instant Photo Vendor yield an enlargement in 15 sec. Users place a negative under a glass plate, lower and hold an exposure meter over the negative, set a lever to match the reading, and drop a quarter in the slot. Photographic paper is exposed to the negative and run through a solution, activating a developing agent in the paper. The image is fixed by a bath in the stabilizer solution. The machine, made by Quik-Chek Electronics and Photo Corp., will enlarge film ranging from 35 mm to standard 120 size. Enlargements can be up to four times the negative size, or a maximum of 5 × 5 in.

© 2012 Penton Media, Inc.