10 YEARS AGO — 2001
Cut a check, digitally: A new magnetic ink-character-recognition (MICR) check reader from Magtek Inc., Carson, Calif., instantly scans and captures check images for electronic processing. After customers acknowledge the electronic transaction,

The check is returned to them on the spot. All handling, sorting, and processing is eliminated. The check readers include Ethernet connections that manage data and power functions through a single locking connector.

30 YEARS AGO — 1981
Monkeys trained to aid the handicapped: Experiments are showing that capuchin monkeys have the manual dexterity, intelligence, and loyalty to be to a paralyzed person what a seeingeye dog is to a blind one — and much more. At Tufts-New England Medical Center Hospital, Dr. Mary Joan Willard is training six monkeys to help those who are confined to wheelchairs with limited or no use of their arms or legs. The same methods used to train the handicapped are used to train the monkeys. They’re first taught to imitate a variety of simple actions on command. Once mastered, this ability is then used in developing other skills.

One of the monkeys, Hellion, is in a home environment with a quadriplegic named Robert. Robert communicates his needs to Hellion by aiming a laser pointer at what he wants and then verbalizing commands. When Hellion completes the task, she is rewarded with praise and a food pellet.

50 YEARS AGO — 1961
A do-it-yourself kit for prototype printed circuits makes it possible to lay out a circuit pattern on a Fotoceram grid board in 15 min. Boards are studded with 0.052-in. holes in a 1-in. grid. Made by Corning Glass Works, Corning, N. Y., the kit consists of two 3 × 5-in. copper-clad Fotoceram grid boards, liquid-etching resist, vinyl-resist tape, and ammonium persulfate crystals for making the etching solution. Cost of the kit is $8.95.

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