In 1975, the Intel 8080 was becoming available at a resonable price. As a student at the Univeristy of Minnesota I saw many uses for a single board computer in research. Together with my roommate, Dean Johnson, a mechincal engineering graduate student, I designed and he did the art work for, a single board computer. We gave a seminar about it, and took orders, and ended up manufacturing 50 of them.
Besides being a good teaching tool, the J&J single board computer was used in a wide variety of research applications including: a cauterizing surgery scalpel, a test stand for a physics experment flown on the space shuttle, massspectromenter data acquisition, 8 port async terminal controller, channel interface for the CDC 7600 supercomputer, a computer terminal for the blind, neutrino detector data collection, etc. not to mention people loading up stolen copies of Microsoft 8080 Basic and writing tick-tak-toe games….
I also obtained assembly and PL/I cross compliers form Intel under an educational licence and supported them as an applicaiton service on the UofM’s CDC 6600 time sharing systems.
Here is the artwork…
Here is one of our prototypes under test, using a DEC PDP-11 running Unix V6 for cross assembly and storage of 8080 code.