[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The HP-150 Touchscreen Computer

August 20th, 2007 by Benj Edwards
HP-150 Touchscreen Computer Ad

In 1983, Hewlett-Packard released what may have been the world’s fist personal computer with an integrated touch-screen. The HP-150 was an 8088-based MS-DOS compatible PC with a handful of advanced features for its time. Unfortunately, the 150’s hardware architecture proved so different that it was not compatible with most IBM PC programs.

The HP-150 uses a crude, low-resolution method for detecting finger placement on its display. The unit projects a grid of infrared beams across the surface of the screen. By sensing which beams are obstructed by an object, the computer can calculate the coordinates of the touch.

Aside from the touch-screen, The HP-150 is notable for being the first U.S. computer to use Sony’s 3 1/2-inch “micro-floppy” disk format, as well as support for Ethernet networking, hard disks, and HP’s first LaserJet printer (through an HP-IB interface). Not bad for 1983.

Anybody have one of these that they don’t want anymore? I’d love to add one to my collection.

[ From Personal Computing, December 1983 ]

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9 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The HP-150 Touchscreen Computer”

  1. eileena Says:

    I have an HP150 with all of the assorted software (some not opened yet)…and I’m still using it! I use it with the BPI accounting program software that was part of it’s original personal computer software library (series 100)…and it’s hooked up to an Epson LX-80 dot matrix printer (successor of the original MX-70)

    It has problems, but I usually get it running by changing the battery…it has always eventually turned on when I most need it…once a year to finish the books

    I eventually will have to put these books on my Quickbooks program, because I can’t take the stress of it failing eventually…if that comes soon, I would like someone who appreciates it to get it…instead of tossing it…so I’ll bookmark this page


  2. Roger Challenger Says:

    Hi Eileena,

    I have some old Membership files I used to update from an HP150 that I would now like to access but the data is not Windows compatible.

    The files end with .edt .eix .efm do you know what the program is that created these files. The software allowed you to create a Form for use inputing data and retreval. Reports could also be created.


    Roger Challenger

  3. Marc S. Sillman Says:

    I have a mint condition HP-150 that’s been sitting on a closet shelf for the last 20 years. I’d love to sell it. As far as I’m aware, everything still works fine. It doesn’t have so much as a blemish, it’s like new out of the box. This could be a piece for a serious collector…

  4. Karen Pierce Says:

    I think I may have EXACTLY what you are looking for. My mother worked for HP for 25 years, retired in 1984 or 1985 and bought this computer with the dot matrix printer before she left (they got an employee price break as I recall). In fact, she worked for HP in the Dymac division that was located in Palo Alto and was there LONG before all the “big buildings” up on the hill on Sand Hill Rd. (I believe it was!) I know we have at least one picture (maybe more) of her standing with a few others in an office area there).
    We’ve been thinking about starting to look into selling it since it has just been sitting “covered” for years. It is in PERFECT condition and has the “touch screen” too.
    Any idea what kind of offer we could get for something like this? We want to sell it to someone who would appreciate it, as we feel it is definitely a bit of “HP history”.
    Please let me know what you think.
    Another interesting piece of trivia, my sister and I went to high school with Steve Wozniak at Homestead High School! My sister was in his graduating class of 1968. For some reason I don’t recall Steve Jobs being there, and in fact thought Jobs had gone to Cupertino H.S., but have since been told that in fact he did go to Homestead as well!
    Thank you,
    Karen Pierce

  5. tom derosa Says:

    I want to buy a HP 150

  6. David Magnusson Says:

    I have a mint condition HP-150 that I’m willing to sell if anyones interested.
    Hit me up at davidm91@outlook.com if you’re interested. I can provide pictures and videos of it, I’m located in Iceland.

    Best regards,

  7. charlie Says:

    I have a 150 with hard disk, i/o board and memory upgrade, lots of software and diagnostic manual. Make me an offer and pay for shipping. Charlie_Friedman@Yahoo.com

  8. Ron D. Says:

    I have one of these complete with mouse, printer, all cables. It works great. Would like to know the value because I am moving and would like to sell it to someone who knows what it is and can appreciate where todays computing came from

  9. Daryl Says:

    I had one of these for years and gave it away fully working. Included a injet printer, 4 penplotter and a full version of Microsoft Windows Version 1 which people told me never existed but was sent to me by HP. Plus assorted HP150 software packages. Had a 5MB Hard Drive which weighed a ton.

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