June 1st, 2015 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, Sega, comic books, interactive comics, Batman, prototype, electronic toys, Tom Hanks, Big, iPad, Whats New, Popular Science, 1995
WHAM! POW! ZAP!
I've been intrigued by this Sega Electronic Comics System prototype since I first saw it in Popular Science's What's New section back in April 1995. Here is an excerpt from that very magazine.
As far as I know, this device never made it into production — in fact, the only mention I can find of it on the Internet as of this writing is this post on the Collectors Society forums.
Apparently, the Sega Electronic Comics device worked in conjunction with a tailor-made paper comic book that one would place onto the device. A series of pressure-sensitive buttons beneath the comic book could be pressed to somehow direct the narrative of the book. (Perhaps like Choose Your Own Adventure — i.e. if you do this, turn to page 3.)
This reminds me of the comic book device Tom Hanks' character outlines in the film Big (1988), albeit without any type of electronic screen. The crazy thing is that 15 years after this Sega Prototype, you could buy an iPad that could store and display thousands of entirely digital comics in a much thinner form factor.
[ From Popular Science, April 1995, p.11]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you use an electronic device to read comic books? Tell us about it.
July 9th, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Retro Scan, IBM, IBM PC, Synergetix, Apple, iPad, Smart Cover, furniture, Personal Computing, 1983
The IBM PC Workstation: Almost as small as a refrigerator.
Once upon a time, IBM made furniture.
Specifically, they created a custom folding desk for its IBM Personal Computer called the "IBM Synergetix PC Work Station," which we see in the 1983 ad above.
IBM registered the trademark "Synergetix" in 1981 to cover its line of IBM PC-related furniture, which even included an official IBM PC Table and IBM PC chair. Big Blue let the trademark expire in 1989, which shows you how successful that idea was.
I've been trying to think of modern analogies to the IBM PC Work Station, and the closest I can come up with is Apple making a special cover for its iPad — although Apple's Smart Cover has been popular and well-received. The Smart Cover also doesn't cost $850 like the IBM PC Work Station did (that's about $1,961 today).
[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, p.249 ]
Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever used a desk specifically designed for use with a computer?