Sinclair C5 Sales Brochure, 1985

Costing £399 plus a £29 delivery charge, the Sinclair C5 was a one-person electric transport launched in January 1985 by Sinclair Vehicles, a company formed two years previously by inventor and entrepreneur Clive Sinclair, the brain behind the ZX81 and ZX Spectrum home computers, which had driven the British home computer boom of the 1980s…

‘Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record’, 1978

Murmurs of Earth was published the year after the 1977 launch of the twin space probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. While the Voyager program’s primary mission was to survey, photograph, and analyze the planets of the outer solar system, the book focuses on our attempts to communicate with whatever intelligent entities might encounter the probes as they flew headlong into the interstellar night…

TI-99/4A Computer Books, 1983 – 1987

Texas Instruments (TI), which had pioneered both pocket calculators and speech synthesizer technology in the 1970s, released its TI-99/4A home computer in 1981. After the release of its first personal computer, 1979’s TI-99/4—a fairly substantial commercial disaster—TI went back to the drawing board to produce a home computer that was cheaper, easier to use…

Fiat “Handbuilt by Robots” Commercial, 1978

In the post-Star Wars era of 1978, robots—or “‘droids”—had ceased to be the ambiguous, threatening machines of yore. Now, they were cheerful helpmates for humanity who labored tirelessly (and free of cost) for the benefit of all. In a world suddenly obsessed with futuristic technologies, their appearance in an advertisement was sure to be noticed—especially by the younger members of any potential car-buying family…

Metal Mickey, 1978 – 1983

After first appearing as a recurring character on British children’s TV show The Saturday Banana and scoring a hit record with his 1978 novelty cover of “Lollipop,” five-foot-tall remote-controlled robot Metal Mickey caught the eye of LWT producer Humphrey Barclay, who commissioned a self-titled spin-off series…

Quickshot Joysticks, 1982 – 1988

As sophisticated new electronic entertainments entered the lives of increasing numbers of people during the 1980s, sophisticated new interfaces were designed to utilize these entertainments—and capitalize on them—to their fullest potential. The joystick was invented originally to satisfy the need to control movement in three dimensions following the invention of the aircraft in the early 20th century…

Adventures in Atari BASIC: Lesson Six – Enemies and Earthquakes

By Mikey Walters

In Lesson Five, we learned about Space Assault’s “main loop” and how game events quickly occur in succession to give the appearance of happening simultaneously. We also handled the actions of our human player, such as moving the crosshair via joystick and firing the Fission Gun Tower. Now it’s time to give the Clovis Aliens their due, so let’s code their relentless, earthshaking attack!

Texas Instruments SR-52 Programmable Calculator, 1975

As the microchip revolution took root in the late 1960s, one of the most obvious uses for the new miniaturization was in the field of mathematics. Digital computers’ original tasks had, of course, been related to calculating much faster than deskbound human beings. The power of a once-massive digital computer transferred to a handheld device would allow for a revolution in calculation, allowing mathematicians of all stripes, from accountants to engineers, to free themselves from lengthy and difficult slide rule calculating…

Adventures in Atari BASIC: Lesson Five – Take Aim and Fire

By Mikey Walters

In Lesson Four, we experienced a crash course in manipulating Atari computer memory, specifically to initialize and control Player/Missile Graphics, and we learned how to move our players across the playfield. With those powerful techniques under our belt, this lesson is action-packed! Not only will we cover joystick control, but also how to fire the mighty Fission Gun Tower…