North First Art

Innovation is nearly always fueled by imagination. During the rapid development of technology during the 20th Century, man unleashed a torrent of marvelous breakthroughs that have reshaped our world. Each development, it turns out, was fueled by a single thought that led to ongoing experimentation, tireless work, and ultimately incredible breakthroughs. The 1980’s in particular introduced a variety of iconic technology innovations that have become an essential part of our history and culture, many of them developed in Silicon Valley.

 

At Crossover Health, we proudly celebrate and honor this spirit of innovation during this unique decade through the art throughout this nearsite center. We hope each of our members enjoys this walk down technologies memory lane.

A Closer Look

Inkjet Printer

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Inkjet printing had been in development by multiple inventors. But it took Epson, Hewlett-Packard, and Canon to make and sell affordable inkjet printers for widespread consumer use. Inkjet technology recreates images by propelling droplets of ink onto paper or other surfaces. Today, inkjet printers are the most cost effective and widely used printers in the marketplace.

Microprocessor

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A multi-purpose, clock-driven, digital-integrated circuit was developed simultaneously by numerous engineers in a race to gain technological superiority within the growing computing marketplace. The actual term, “Microprocessor,” however, is attributed to an integrated circuit, designed and manufactured by Viatron Computing Systems for their System 21 computer.

Graphical Interface

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Prior to the 1980’s, computers were not built to visually display data. But after incremental advances from companies like SRI and Xerox PARC, a young entrepreneur named Steve Jobs released a computer named the Macintosh that borrowed and extended the concept of a graphical interface. Others would rapidly build from this foundation to make computers accessible to the masses.

Fax Machine

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Early attempts at developing ways to transmit images over phone lines were primitive at best, when engineers at IBM in San Jose finally developed a system to scan and receive documents over traditional telephone lines. By the 1980’s, mass produced fax machines became the ubiquitous way for documents to be sent and received – radically increasing the speed of business throughout the world.

High Definition

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While the idea of television imagery that equaled the quality of movies shown in theaters was in minds of engineers for many years, it wasn’t until the late 1980’s that the ability to broadcast High Definition Television began to be available to the public. A second part of the HDTV revolution required users to purchase a television compatible with these new broadcast advancements.

Boombox

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Electronics manufacturers developed a portable stereo system that offered dual cassette record/playback devices, a radio transmitter, and two speakers housed in a single, portable plastic case. The system would soon become known as the “Boombox” for its ability to produce loud music from such a relatively small footprint. It quickly was adopted by the emerging Rap music genre.

Wireless Router

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The emergence of personal computing led to the concept of a network of computers working together. Early routers were hardwired to devices but later connected by using a band of the radio spectrum becoming an essential component to rapidly sharing information. Wireless router technology emerged so rapidly that no single engineer or company was given credit for this invention.

Wifi

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When the internet was first introduced, users had to attach their devices to a cable to gain access. In 1985, a technology called 802.11 was made available for general use after a U.S. Federal Communication Commission ruling released three bands of the radio spectrum. Technology developers rushed in and began created protocols, devices, and other technologies to enable wireless connectivity.

Compact Disc

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At the time of their release in 1982, a compact disc could hold more storage than the typical computer hard drive of the day. Originally developed to store music, CD’s became an important device for storing data. CD technology works by focusing a small beam of light onto a spinning disk and reading content recorded on it. CD’s were made obsolete as even smaller forms of memory developed.

Walkman

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Sony released a personalized cassette recorder and player called the Walkman. For $150, you could own a device that would let you transport and enjoy your favorite music through headphones that amplified stereo sound. The walkman soon became an icon of a generation of movie stars, sporting legends, and common people everywhere. The Walkman was made obsolete by the MP3 player.

Camcorder

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Prior to 1983, when Sony launched it’s first camcorder to the public, most consumers used movie cameras that used film housed in a plastic cassette to record moving pictures. Low cost technology, rapidly increasing storage, and the ease of use with personal computers to manipulate the information, helped Camcorders replace home movie cameras and launch the digital video market.

Game Consoles

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The Magnavox Odyssey was the first video game console developed and sold to the mass market. Yet, it wasn’t until several years later that the video game “Pong,” developed by Atari, became a fixture in homes everywhere. During the ensuing years, there would be multiple boom and bust cycles in the video game market as emerging technologies eclipsed older game players.

Answering Machine

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While many lay claim to the invention of the telephone answering machine — a device that intercepted inbound calls, provided greetings to the caller, and then recorded the caller’s response — none can dispute that the breakup of AT&T caused a fundamental shift in telephone technology. Commercially-viable answering machines were early on the scene, with sales topping one million units in 1984. The technology would ultimately be displaced by digital voice mail, and later by cell phones.

Cable TV

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Originally designed to provide television access to people in remote areas where television signals were blocked by geographical land features, cable television soon became known as “subscription television” where viewers could purchase television programing. Today, cable TV has lost popularity, as consumers use more internet-based solutions and satellite broadcast systems.

Cell Phone

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The year was 1983. Motorola released a handheld phone device called the DynaTAC 800x. For four thousand dollars, you could buy an oversized, portable phone that gave you thirty minutes of talking time before its battery charge ran out. The Motorola phone became wildly successful and was the genesis for an entire industry that would soon eclipse the use of the “landline” telephone market.

Disk Drive

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IBM recognized a need for an immediate application of what they termed a “Random Access File” to access and store data. Early designs included storage on wire arrays, rod arrays, and drums. Engineers in IBM’s San Jose laboratory developed the first disk drive, which was twenty four inches in diameter. Little could they have known how much their invention would change the computing world.

Personal Computer

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The development of the single-chip microprocessor was the launching pad for computing for the masses. First on the scene with a computer available to the consumer, was the MITS Altair 8800, followed by the IMSAI 8080. Finally, IBM made their way to the marketplace with a device they named the “personal computer.” Sales skyrocketed and the personal computer revolution began.