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Vector monitor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A 24-hour clock displayed on an oscilloscope configured as a vector monitor in X-Y mode with dual R2R DACs to generate the analog voltages.
A 24-hour clock displayed on an oscilloscope configured as a vector monitor in X-Y mode with dual R2R DACs to generate the analog voltages.

A vector monitor, vector display, or calligraphic display is a display device used for computer graphics up through the 1970s. It is a type of CRT, similar to that of an early oscilloscope. In a vector display, the image is composed of drawn lines rather than a grid of glowing pixels as in raster graphics. The electron beam follows an arbitrary path tracing the connected sloped lines, rather than following the same horizontal raster path for all images. The beam skips over dark areas of the image without visiting their points.

In 1963, Ivan Sutherland at MIT first used a vector graphic display for Sketchpad, his pioneering CAD program. In 1968, he and his team again used a vector monitor to display wireframe images of 3D models. This time the display was head mounted. The obviously heavy system was held up by a support arm structure called The Sword of Damocles. The system is widely considered to be the first computer-based virtual reality.

In 1970, at the UK Farnborough Airshow, Sperry Gyroscope (Bracknell, England) exhibited the first ever vector graphic video display from a UK company. It featured an analogue monochrome display with special electronics, designed by Sperry's John Atkins, that allowed it to draw vectors on screen between two pairs of coordinates. At Farnborough the display was used to demonstrate the capabilities of the new Sperry 1412 military computer - it was shown running software that drew, in real time, a wire-frame rotating cube that could be speed-controlled in any of its three dimensions. That demonstration created significant interest in the Sperry 1412 computer, which then went on to be at the heart of a number of major projects for the French Navy and the Royal Navy during the period 1972 to 1992.

Some refresh vector displays use a normal phosphor that fades rapidly and needs constant refreshing 30-40 times per second to show a stable image. These displays, such as the Imlac PDS-1, require some local refresh memory to hold the vector endpoint data. Other storage tube displays, such as the popular Tektronix 4010, use a special phosphor that continues glowing for many minutes. Storage displays do not require any local memory. In the 1970s, both types of vector displays were much more affordable than bitmap raster graphics displays when megapixel computer memory was still very expensive. Today, raster displays have replaced nearly all uses of vector displays.

Vector displays do not suffer from the display artifacts of aliasing and pixelation—especially black and white displays; color displays keep some artifacts due to their discrete nature—but they are limited to displaying only a shape's outline (although advanced vector systems can provide a limited amount of shading). Text is crudely drawn from short strokes. Refresh vector displays are limited in how many lines or how much text can be shown without refresh flicker. Irregular beam motion is slower than steady beam motion of raster displays. Beam deflections are typically driven by magnetic coils, and those coils resist rapid changes to their current.

Notable among vector displays are Tektronix large-screen computer terminals that use direct-view storage CRTs. (The CRT has at least one flood gun, and a special type of display screen, more complicated in principle than a simple phosphor.) But that permanent image cannot be easily changed. Like an Etch-a-Sketch, any deletion or movement requires erasing the entire screen with a bright green flash, and then slowly redrawing the entire image. Animation with this type of monitor is not practical.

Vector displays were used for head-up displays in fighter aircraft because of the brighter displays that can be achieved by moving the electron beam more slowly across the phosphors. Brightness was critical because the display needed to be clearly visible to the pilot in direct sunlight.

A free software Asteroids-like video game played on an oscillograph configured in X-Y mode
A free software Asteroids-like video game played on an oscillograph configured in X-Y mode

Vector monitors were also used by some late-1970s to mid-1980s arcade games such as Asteroids, Tempest, and Star Wars.[1] Atari used the term Quadrascan to describe the technology when used in their video game arcades.

Hewlett-Packard made a series of large-screen X-Y (vector) displays, the first of which was the 20MHz 8x10" model 1300. The CRT had an internal, specially contoured, very fine mesh operating at low potential, which was placed after the deflection plates at the gun exit. The 17KV electrostatic field between this mesh and the separate, conductive coating charged to final accelerating potential inside the CRT funnel, accelerated the electron beam axially as well as radially, expanding the possible image size to cover the 8x10" screen of the 17.75" long CRT. Without the mesh, the 8x10" CRT would have had to be almost three times as long.[2]

Expansion mesh technology was developed in the early 1960s[3] by the need to drive deflection plates at high frequencies in compact high-brightness CRTs operating at high acceleration voltages, to take advantage of the then-new transistor technology which was limited to only low voltages. The much bulkier and less efficient vacuum-tube electrostatic deflection amplifiers were able to operate at hundreds of volts.

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  • ✪ Vector Display Output from a VGA Port
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A friend Adam. he was playing this game Trace Vector - and it looked really neat, it was done this retro-style the same as asteroids and some other arcade games. And the difference is it actually did using conventional LCD screen unlike the vector displays so computers all them use for the last many years use screens that are raster based so they start at the top and they go to the bottom. You know effectively draws from the top and goes down in the same with CRTs The difference was on some of these retro games they would actually control position on the beam so they could write out text. I thought to myself how would I do that? Well conveniently oscilloscopes have this little X Y feature in which you can control position of the beam. Let's uuh turn it off real quick and you can control it you can move it in the X position and in the Y position. And when you do this use rather by controlling the voltage on the X input and the Y input. That would mean I have to in a voltage from the computer to the oscilloscope at high-speed. Where am I gonna find a high-speed digital to analog converter? Conveniently, every computers got this cool thing called a VGA port so for all three dollars putting together some resistors and VGA port I can now take the red and blue channels and hook them up to X and Y respectively so let's take a look at this computer right here and see what that would look like if I were to output that... We're seeing the picture it's completely meaningless because what's actually happening is the computer I'll be standing from atop and then going down and the red color, the amount read how intense it is is the X position. And the amount of blue or the intensity of blue is the Y position so this is a picture even if you can't really see it as one. Let's put it on the oscilloscope. Have to turn this back up there straight center okay now we have this image on the oscilloscope this is done by having the X&Y hooked up to here here and being able to move the beam and draw all the text and this little heart shape. In addition I have this LSM303 here it's a magnetometer - that I have a magnet in my hand right now so I basically a non-contact mechanism of input. I can control various parameters of this game so to speak with the magnet and the magnetometer. So I'm controlling the little heart. This is a little bit boring by my standards so I also wrote this game - and it's not really a game I guess but tech demo that has a mesh that I can control using the a the same magnetometer. It's calibrated and I go and I can drive around on this wonderful screen, and you're seeing that all of these areas it's actually not being rasterized, it's being drawn by drawing each one of these little line segments one at a time. This is in the same sort of style of drawing that games like asteroids and some other arcade games used. So I now have this vector display hooked up to this computer and reasonable means to be able to control the output so, I'm curious if anybody else is any other interesting things they want to do with something like this or just to see where other people go this sort of thing. Hope you liked it hope you thought it was cool, and don't forget to subscribe to my videos thanks for watching. Oh no! It's shrinking the computer is going to stand by - up oh well

Color displays

Some vector monitors are capable of displaying multiple colors, using either a typical shadow mask RGB CRT or two phosphor layers (so-called "penetration color").

Atari used the term color quadrascan to describe the shadow-mask version used in their video arcade games.[4][5]

In the penetration tubes, by controlling the strength of the electron beam, electrons can be made to reach (and illuminate) either or both phosphor layers, typically producing a choice of green, orange, or red.

Tektronix made color oscilloscopes for a few years using penetration CRTs, but demand for these was low.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Van Burnham (2001). Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age, 1971-1984. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-52420-1.
  2. ^ Russell, Milton E. (December 1967). "Factors in Designing a Large-Screen, Wideband CRT" (PDF). Hewlett-Packard Journal. Volume 19 - Number 4: 10–11.
  3. ^ Peter A. Keller (December 2007) Tektronix CRT History Part 6 - CRTs for Solid-State Instruments
  4. ^ "Atari's New Color Quadrascan (X-Y) Monitor" (PDF) (Press release). Atari Incorporated. 1981-09-24. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  5. ^ "Wells-Gardner 6100 Vector Monitor FAQ and Guide" (PDF). 2002-03-01. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
This page was last edited on 28 June 2020, at 23:56
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