Death of Clive Sinclair, inventor of the first portable electronic calculator

Clive Sinclair, the British inventor behind the pocket calculator and affordable home computers, died Thursday, September 16, aged 81, his family announced.

He died at his London home after battling cancer for more than a decade, British media reported, earning tributes from many who fondly remember their first computer experience in the early 1980s .

Last week he was still working on inventions “Because that’s what he liked to do”her daughter Belinda Sinclair told the BBC. “He was inventive and imaginative and for him it was exciting and an adventure, it was his passion”, she added.

Among Clive Sinclair’s groundbreaking inventions was the first portable electronic calculator in 1972. The Sinclair ZX80, launched in 1980 and sold for less than £ 100 at the time, helped democratize home computing in Britain and elsewhere. .

“He made the dreams of the 21st century possible”

The Sinclair ZX80, launched in 1980, was sold for less than £ 100 at the time.

Other home computers such as the Apple II cost much more, and Sinclair’s company was the first in the world to sell more than a million machines. Among the models that followed was the ZX Spectrum in 1982, which offered higher power and a more user-friendly interface, which accelerated the revolution in home gaming and programming.

British director Edgar Wright, whose latest film Last Night in Soho premiered in Venice this month, paid tribute to Sinclair on Twitter.

“As someone whose first glimpses of a new world were the terrifying graphics of 3D Monster Maze on the ZX81, I would like to salute technology pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair ”, did he declare. “He made the dreams of the XXI possiblee century. I’m going to tap the rubber keys on a Spectrum in your honor. RIP. “

“You could say that the digital age started for us in the UK with the Sinclair ZX80, when thousands of children learned to code using 1k of RAM”, tweeted Tom Watson, former deputy leader of the British Labor Party. “This man changed my life”, he added.

The battery-powered tricycle flop

However, not all of Clive Sinclair’s inventions have met with dazzling success. The Sinclair C5, a battery-powered recumbent trike touted as the future of green transportation, flopped on an expensive scale after its launch in 1985.

“Sir Clive Sinclair’s influence on the world should not be underestimated”, tweeted video game journalist Dominik Diamond. “If we had all stopped laughing long enough to buy a C5, it probably would have saved the environment”.

Born in 1940, Sinclair left school at the age of 17 to become a technical journalist. At 22, he created his first company, making mail order radio kits, including what was then the smallest transistor radio in the world. Other projects include digital watches and a first flat-screen TV.

He was portrayed onscreen in 2009 by British actor Alexander Armstrong in the television drama Micro Men, which chronicles his rivalry with Acorn Computers founder Chris Curry in the 1980s.

Ironically, in a 2013 interview with the BBC, Clive Sinclair revealed that he doesn’t use computers himself. “I don’t like distractions”, he explained. “If I had a computer, I would start to think I could change this, I could change that, and I don’t want to. “

The World with AFP

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