Clive Sinclair died yesterday in London at 81 years of age. He will be remembered as the father of a whole generation of computers, especially from ZX Spectrum, who served as inspiration for the creation of personal computers.
In 1972, Sinclair invented the first calculator that could be carried out without problems in his pocket. It was the Sinclair Executive, a small device less than 100 grams of weight with a price that today, taking into account inflation, would exceed 1,000 euros.
Even so, it was half the cheap than the competition of the time, and much more compact. It became a success. A year of launching, Sinclair Radionics, its first company, manufactured more than 100,000 units per month.
Only this invention would have been enough to add his name to the British inventors pantheon but today is almost a note on the sidelines of a brilliant race full of ups and downs that would rival without problems with Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Bill Gates.
Self-taught engineer (Sinclair refused to go to college despite his excellent notes and talent for mathematics and physics), he had to combine the passion for electronics with journalism in his beginnings to pay his first developments.
His greatest contribution would arrive in the 1980s. The first affordable microprocessors began to reach the market and Sinclair occurred to him to start selling electronics for students to learn to take advantage of them.
In 1980, the ZX80 was born and, a year later, the ZX81, two computers who taught to schedule a whole generation of application developers and games.
His third machine was the most iconic. In April 1982 he launched the ZX Spectrum, with 48 KB of memory. The computer, with its characteristic rubber keys, became an instant success in Europe and Japan for its low price, small size and extensive collection of games and programs available.
Sinclair managed to knead a huge fortune thanks to these computers and his next goal was to revolutionize transportation. In 1983 he created the company Sinclair Vehicles Ltd. with the aim of launching an electric vehicle, the C5.
He came to the market two years later, but it was an absolute failure. It was expensive and its design, similar to that of a toy tricycle, did not convince the British audience.
The ruling forced Sinclair to sell his computers division to one of his competitors, Amstrad. Later, in 2010, the inventor would try to relive the idea of an electric personal vehicle with a prototype baptized as X-1, but who did not see the light.
Despite his passion for electronics and miniaturization, and the success of his creations, Sinclair was not a big fan of his own products. His daughter ensures, for example, that despite having invented a pocket calculators, he preferred to make the accounts with a calculation rule.
It was also one of the most critical voices with the idea of artificial intelligence. On more than one occasion she came to predict that the development of a general purpose intelligence superior to human would be the end of the species.Updated Date: 21 September 2021, 22:16