History of Computing: Extending Interactivity
Once there, his expertise on the interface between the human senses and electronic equipment made him a natural early recruit to MIT’s new air defense project. As part of the Project Charles study group, tasked with figuring out how to implement the Valley Committee air defense report, Licklider pushed for the inclusion of human factors research, and got himself appointed co-director of radar-display development for Lincoln Laboratory. But in fact, all of its projects in that field were soon stripped away by rival claimants: the Air Force had no intention of giving up control over military rocketry, and the National Aeronautics and Space Act, signed in July 1958, created a new civilian agency to take over all non-weaponized ventures into space. The Department of Defense solved both problems by assigning ARPA new research task of command-and-control, to be inaugurated with a $6 million grant to SDC to study command-and-control problems using the Q-32.