On This Day…

7th April 1972 Birth of Heli Tele

On the 7th April 1972 Maj Tony Fielding, commanding 8th Infantry Brigade HQ and Signal Squadron in Londonderry, heard his brigade commander needed a way to prioritise his response to simultaneous incidents in widely spaced locations. Fielding borrowed a TV camera, a portable SHF TV transmitter, a receiver and TV monitors. He mounted them in a Scout helicopter and in July 1972 successfully demonstrated the ability to transmit live television coverage from a helicopter.

The following year Heli Tele, with colour camera and monitors (although it could only transmit black and white), a stable platform and a long focal length zoom lens, was in operation. The Corps managed and ran the mobile ground station that received the live footage and ultimately Heli Tele proved an invaluable asset to the security forces in Northern Ireland.


7th April 1927 First Videophone

On this day in 1927 the first public demonstration of a one-way videophone occurred between Herbert Hoover (then U.S. Secretary of Commerce) in Washington, D.C., and officials of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT & T) in New York. This was followed three years later in 1930 by the first public demonstration of a two-way videophone, between AT&T’s Bell Laboratories and its corporate headquarters, both in New York. This two-way system employed early television equipment and a closed circuit

By 1956 Bell Labs had developed a videophone that could be employed over existing telephone circuits. Further studies led to the development in 1963 of the first complete experimental videophone system, known as Picturephone. By 1968 Bell engineers had developed a second-generation Picturephone, which was put into public service in 1971.