DS-1 Display System
RFC 296

Document Type RFC - Unknown (January 1972; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                          D. Liddle
Request for Comments: 296                           Owens-Illinois, Inc.
NIC: 8484                                                   January 1972

                          DS-1 DISPLAY SYSTEM

Introduction

   This document describes a proposed modular graphic/alphanumeric
   display system containing a 512 x 512 line, 60 line per inch plasma
   display/memory panel and a mini- processor.  It is intended to
   combine the advantages of display memory and local processing power
   to operate in three general modes as follows:

   1. As an "intelligent terminal" operating on data received from the
      network or a local host to perform text editing, picture
      processing, etc.

   2. As a passive terminal in which the mini-processor translates
      existing display lists, command strings and data structure for
      storage tube terminals or other devices into the proper form to
      operate the plasma display.  In particular, a software module for
      simulation of the ARDS 100A is provided.

   3. As an offline system, where the processor is operated as a stand-
      along mini-computer for debugging, editing, and general display
      work.

   The DS-1 consists of a display module, a processor module, and
   keyboard (see Figure 1).  The display model is a DIGIVUE_
   display/memory unit, model 512-60, produced by Owens-Illinois, Inc.,
   containing the plasma panel and associated drive circuitry.  The
   processor module was specially designed and built for the DS-1
   application by the Raytheon Company.

   A modem is enclosed in the processor module, and is described in
   later sections.  An alternative RS 232 interface is also available
   for connection to a TIP or teletype compatible system.

   [Figure 1 DS-1 Display System*]

   In addition to the display module and the processor, the DS-1 has a
   modem for data transmission, and Ascii keyboard, and an I/0 interface
   to support numerous external devices.  The mechanical design of the
   DS-1 emphasizes flexibility, so that both the keyboard and display
   module can be oriented independently of the processor module.

Liddle                                                          [Page 1]
RFC 296                   DS-1 Display System               January 1972

   Software will be supplied with the DS-1, for such functions as text
   editing, vector generation, data management and various I/0 routines.

   The DS-1 is intended principally to operate as an online terminal;
   the offline mode is used for programming and data preparing chores
   which do not require access to the host computer.  In describing
   system operation, therefore, offline operations are simply a subset
   of online operations in which the only I/0 functions are local.  The
   I/0 operations are accomplished by "direct" input/output
   instructions, a special feature of the 700 series machines developed
   at the Raytheon Company.  A single instruction (DIN for input, DOT
   for output) enables the external device addressed by the instruction
   to accept the data presently in the accumulator (DOT) or to transmit
   data to the accumulator (DIN) over the data buss.

   The plasma display X and Y address registers are seen as output
   devices by the processor; the other basic output device is the modem.
   The keyboard and input modem are the basic input devices, in addition
   to the optional cassette tape system for program loading.  These
   devices, and the interfacing of other peripherals are described in
   later sections.

   Figure 2 is a block diagram of the basic DS-1 configurations,
   emphasizing the I/0 structure.  The principal role of the processor
   module is in the restructuring of input data to an appropriate output
   form, either from modem-to-display (computer to operator) or
   keyboard-to-modem (operator to computer).  Such processing consists
   of handling communication chores,

   [Figure 2 US-1 I/0 Configuration*]

   string and stack manipulation, character suppression or translation,
   vector construction from endpoint data or character-encoded line
   drawing commands, and data stream protocol and management, so that
   the input/output character stream over the modem or channel remains
   compatible with the host computer, while the keyboard inputs and
   display outputs are being effectively and efficiently handled.

   The real significance of the DS-1 as a new display terminal stems
   from its use of the plasma display/memory unit.  Because of its
   inherent memory and selective erase capability, it can be addressed
   asynchronously, requires no special "refresh" or access to buffer
   memory, and is indistinguishable from any other output medium, such
   as tape, etc.  Seen from the operator's point of view, it has very
   desirable human factors, such as high contrast and "crisp" line
   dimensions, no jitter, flicker, or distortion, and the capability for
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