A new computer memory system, read by a laser beam, may in the future help Tokyo's directory enquiry operators to deal with the avalanche of queries they have to deal with daily.
GV exterior, electronic lab.
SV engineer working on laser beam unit ( 3 shots )
CU laser unit
CU engineer tilt down to plate storing information
SV engineers at controls tilt down to television screen ( 2 shots )
SV interior, directory enquiries office
SV & CU girls answering enquiries ( 5 shots )
GV interior office
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Background: A new computer memory system, read by a laser beam, may in the future help Tokyo's directory enquiry operators to deal with the avalanche of queries they have to deal with daily.
The system has been developed by the Japan Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, which is due to present the results of its research to the Sixth International Convention of Quantum Electronics, held in Tokyo from September 7 to 10.
The new technology on which the development is based is called holography. It consists essentially of recording information represented in the dark and bright patterns on a film which the laser beam can interpret. On this film the computer memory can store all the information stored in a month's newspaper - about 1,000 pages of print - on a film 10 centimetres square.
According to the Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, the laser beam memory has the largest storage capacity of its type in the world, five times more than one developed in the United States by the Bell Telephone Company. It is said to be ten thousand times more efficient for storage than magnetic tape, and to have much more capacity than magnetic disc.
The laser beam side of the system also reads the stored information hundred times faster than a conventional memory, and is expected to pave the way for miniature computers with faster reading capacity.
At present Tokyo's directory enquiry operators have to search for their information in 32 different telephone books, in small print. Japanese characters make the task even more difficult. All the information these books contain can be stored on 16 film plates according to the new system.
The operators will simply have to register a name like "Akai", and then read off the required number on a television tube.
At the moment the Tokyo telephone exchange has 1,800 operators working a shift system on directory enquiry work. The experienced ones can answer 120 queries an hour.
But there is no doubt that this productivity will be enormously improved and great savings in labour will be made, if the laser-beam computer-system is employed. For public, it will certainly bring a much more efficient service.