Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame Member Experience
Welcome to the Exclusive IEEE Member Experience
Be sure to visit each week for a chance to win new prizes and engage with your fellow members
on featured gadgets you’ve owned.
the interactive timeline of the Hall of Fame gadgets.
Week Five:Jose Restrepo
Entry: Atari 2600 Game Console
Prize: Atari Flashback 8 Gold Console
Atari 2600 was a fantastic machine when I was in my early ages. I was fascinated how a machine could just paint on my TV figures, characters and mazes in a way that I can play with them. I spent hours playing combat, adventure and star riders. It was very easy to connect, to change games and to control. My imaginations grew with it and it for sure played a big role in choosing my life career years after.
Week Five:Jason Boylan
Entry: Radio Shack 160-in-1 kit
Prize: Bose Home Speaker 500 with Alexa voice control
My favorite gadget was probably my first, a Radio Shack 160-in-1 kit that received as a precocious toddler from my parents. Before I could read circuit diagrams--or even read--I could follow the pictures and build creations that kickstarted my love of tinkering that continues until today. My father loves to tell the story of returning home late one night from a deployment and being shocked that our service door gained an alarm that betrayed his arrival. Slightly less surprising was a bouncing 5 year old--up way beyond his bedtime--running in, screaming "it worked it worked" and earning the hugs that had been sorely missed. It spent a few decades in my parents' attic but the well-worn kit now sits in my garage waiting for the next generation to be ready.
Week Five:Tim Murphy
Entry: Commodore VIC-20
Prize: Grundig Eton Digital G8 Radio
I believe the Commodore VIC-20 belongs in this hall of fame. It was the first computer to sell more than a million units. As such it was the first computer for a whole generation. It was perhaps a little less capable than the TRS-80, but where I grew up, it was much more accessible. I honed my early programming skills on a Vic-20 and used it as a terminal via a 300 baud modem connected to the university's mainframe. The ability to sit in my own apartment and program until all hours of the night with my stereo going etc. was a big improvement over working those late nights in the computer center. I used that VIC-20 for many electronics projects over the years, clear up until I bought my first MAC in 1984. I was lucky enough to get to use all kinds of personal computers as they were introduced (apple II, TRS-80, Commodore 64, the first IBM PCs, several different HP machines, etc.). I think the VIC-20 really hit a sweet spot of capability vs. costs.
Week Five:Asanga Ranasinghe
Entry: Nintendo Game and Watch
Prize: Samsung 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player
Nintendo Game and Watch: This was the prized possession of a 12-year old boy in Sri Lanka in 1990. My parents bought this for me as a I was nagging them all year long for a birthday gift! You can still see the price tag in the picture. It costed LKR 1325 (Sri Lankan Rupees), which was quite an amount back then. So, these type of gifts were rare for most of us. I used to play this almost all day during the holidays. I would play this in bed and keep it next to me while I slept, so I can play as soon as I wake up. I fell in love with this game Zelda and later played it addictively on the Nintendo Game Console as well (early 1990s). These games made my mind curious and adventurous. I have by now trekked in the Himalayan region in Nepal, travelled to 25 countries, including with my wife to see the Northern Lights from Iceland and sleep under the stars in the desert in Oman. I have always been fascinated and skeptical about technology. I can be considered a modern man according to the human modernisation theory of Inkeles and Smith. Little did I expected the Nintendo Game and Watch in my pocket would put me in a trajectory to give feedback to the European Commission's Draft Report on AI, which was prepared by the High Level Expert Group.
Week Five:Partev Barr Sarkissian
Entry: Timex-Sinclair TS-1000
Prize: Sony Handycam Video Camera Camcorder
In the mid 1980's, I purchased my first computer, it was a Timex-Sinclair TS-1000 from the corner Radio Shack. It ran a fundamental version of the computer language BASIC. Very simple and straight forward, and a great way to get into computing and programming on a budget, back in the day. The Arduino and Raspberry Pi of its day. Wish I still had it, was great fun to work with. Like Latin, BASIC is all but a dead language, fun to re-visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
Week Four:Olufemi Balogun
Entry: BayGen (Freeplay) Wind-up Radio
Prize: DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone
So I’m relatively younger, I was born in 1996 but still, the BayGen (Freeplay) Wind-up radio gets the spotlight for me. It was more than just a radio, it brought the entire family together every evening as we gathered around it, listening to whatever was on. It was a portal of some sort that helped me reach the outside world. It helped nurture my imaginative mind since my mind had to peg some human actions to the voices heard over the radio.But that’s the obvious part. The most magical thing about the radio was that little foldable handle that gave the ability to give life to the radio, “the Wind up”. The most exciting part of the radio was getting to crank it up. It was a task I wholeheartedly looked forward to performing because the ability to produce electricity with your bare hands was simply out of this world for me and along with the wind up (hand crank) mechanism came the obvious questions, “How exactly did the hand movements get converted to electricity?” It felt like magic. Well it was magic back then. I’m an EEE student so I know better now. But it did spark up something in me, an impression that would last forever. And now I’m this close to a Bachelors Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Now the question I keep asking is this. “Would I be on this path, if we removed the wind-up radio from my life’s equation?”
Week Four:Sandro Sartoni
Entry: Cobra 138XLR Single Sideband
Prize: goTenna Mesh SMS & GPS Devices
One of the most intriguing gadget that belongs to the Hall of Fame, in my opinion, is the Cobra 138XLR Single Sideband. Radios have always fascinated me, they were the first successful attempt to connect people, to spread information before TVs or cell phones were invented. Still I now I find interesting to tune on the AM channels and see what's been airing, finding most times content coming from foreign countries. Gotta love it!
Week Four:Leonard Lowe
Entry: The Kaypro II Portable Computer
Prize: Pioneer Multimedia DVD Receiver 7" Display
The Kaypro II portable computer, which I purchased in 1983 along with the Epson printer. Running CP/M on a Z-80 at the blistering speed of 2.5 MHz. I used the furnished Perfect Calc and Perfect Writer applications in my regular job to create project proposals and estimates for around 5 years until I left the corporate environment to start up a small business. The first purchases of my new business were an IBM compatible desktop and HP plotter. The Kaypro is still here, and ran fine just now when I inserted the floppys and booted it up. They just don't build stuff like they used to.
Week Four:Matteo Perenzoni
Entry: The Commodore VIC20
Prize: Polar M430 GPS Running Watch
The Commodore VIC20 was my entry point to the computer world. My parents bought it in conjunction with an encyclopedia, that kind of offers that I would never accept today! In the end it was the right move: I started programming in BASIC and understanding how computers worked thanks to the VIC20. No software was available at that time, and with no storage, every program I wrote just disappeared when turning off the VIC20. I even had to share the TV with my parents: the computer had an analogue TV tuner for displaying the screen, and we had to go through the channels to find out where it was transmitting. I had to bought the written source code of games at the newsstand, transcribe it and then I could play—keeping the VIC20 on, day and night. I remember my parents gifting me a car game for birthday, “Brands Hatch”, and spending the whole night typing “POKE” and numbers, such that when I woke up I found the VIC20 on with the game ready! A major upgrade was the purchase of the cassette recorder, so we could avoid hours of transcribing. I remember trying to write my own “word processor” and immediately hitting the 5kbytes memory limit. Tough times for programmers, but a great opportunity to learn from the very basics!
Week Three:Gabriela Caspa Huayhua
Prize: Apple Watch Series 4
It is amazing how an electronic gadget can impact in a little girl’s life. It was the Walkman wm fx 195 that has amazed me in many aspects of my life. It goes from looking cool to getting an interest into technology. First off, I am from Bolivia, where last and ultimate technology would arrive so late and in expensive prices. Thus, for a small girl to have a walkman was such a honor. I could stand out among my friends and show it off. It was funny when my friends would bring their parents’ cassettes and share their music, so that I had the privilege to choose which one would go first. (Also it let me to love old music) I also enjoyed listening to radio and tuning in any radio was such a challenge!I had to move the tunner less than 5 mm in order to be accurate and get as minum noise as possible, this drove me to wonder how radio transmission works and how I could make it to be easier to tune; also, how could I reduce that noise to understand the soccer narration with my dad! However, those ideas aroused my curiosity and those were my first steps to become a telecommunication engineer. All I can say to my walkman is: thank you for letting me discover nice music, be the popular child and now a telecommunication engineer.
Week Three:Kriss Kirchhoff
Entry: MITS Altair 8800
Prize: Audio-Technica Professional Turntable
I think the most transformative product in my experience was the MITS Altair 8800 computer that I motivated my interest in electronics and computing. Tearing into that computer, programming it via machine code through front panel switches and then figuring out how to make that easier by building interfaces for a teletype, paper tape and then cassette storage helped direct my career. All of my exploration and ownership of consumer electronics devices and contribution to the industry can be traced to that product its impact in exciting me with the potential of electronics and computing.
Week Three:David Bart
Entry: Motorola Bag Phone
Prize: Garmin DriveSmart Advanced Navigation GPS
Does anyone remember the Motorola bag phone from the late 1980s up to about 1990? This was my first introduction to cell phone technology. What a treat and how exciting to call from your car or some other location. All you had to do was carry the small bag with you. Who knew that it would lead to today’s cell phone world, where people are really carrying mini computers. To me, this is the gateway consumer product that led into the 21st century and a modern cellular world. Even though the technology continues to change and is now more digital than cellular, the terminology remains and the concept is ubiquitous since most people have cell phones now. This cultural shift really demonstrates the legacy from those early days.
Week Three:Daniel Kikuta
Entry: Sony 1R-81, 8 Transistor Radio
Prize: Midland - X-TALKER Walkie Talkie
In 1966, I was in the 8th grade in junior high school in Marina del Rey, CA. The Los Angeles Dodgers had made it to the World Series against Baltimore. I was working at a neighborhood store after school and had saved my money to buy, what I thought was the smallest transistor radio I had ever seen. It was a Sony 1R-81, 8 transistor radio. It was small enough to fit inside your pants pocket to sneak into school to listen to the game during lunch. What an electronics marvel in miniaturization. It was an AM radio that had an integral speaker and earphone jack. I can remember back then that the sign of a quality radio was the number of transistors it used... the more the better. Cheap radios were 4-5 transistors, but the Sony had 8! I can remember not to long before this, Japanese radios were getting a bad rap due to the “cheap” quality. Sony changed this with their attention to design and construction. I think the Dodgers lost the series that year, but I still have my Sony radio!
Week Three:Jay Prager
Prize: Sony 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV
Inn 1972 I was a young engineer working on radar systems at RCA’s Aerospace Systems Division in Burlington, MA. Shortly after the the HP-35 calculator was announced at $395, a princely sum in those days, RCA offered its engineers the opportunity to buy an HP-35 at a company subsidized price. I can still remember turning mine on, entering "30", pressing the "sin" key and seeing 0.5000000 appear in the display. Magic! Goodbye drawer full of slide rules, hello digital technology!!! (PS: I still have my HP-35, shown in the photo, in its original plastic box with all of its accessories and original batteries.)
Week Two:Patrick Wong
Entry: HP 48SX calculator
Prize: Swiss Micros DM42 calculator
I used this HP 48SX calculator in electrical engineering school in Manitoba in early 90s. It has a library card and electrical engineering card (2 cards total) inside. It uses commonly available AAA batteries. We had to use masking tapes at the top in exams to prevent from IR communications. 2 of my most favorite calculators; the other was HP11C which my niece lost.
Week Two:Yi Liu
Entry: Sony NWZ-E443F
Prize: Sony NW-A45/B Walkman
I didn’t have a large budget when I decided to buy the Sony NWZ-E443F in the year 2006, it was so expensive for a freshman! Still, the walkman was really attracting to me with high audio quality, cool appearance, and 1gb memory when others were still of 128MB, 512GB. After got it, I never regretted. It was a very compact device that offers a battery of 25+ hours, thus only needed to get charged once a week. In those years, I also spent months reading the my favorite books with the small OLED display;).
Week Two:Kelly Manning
Entry: Sears aka Model 728.5825
Prize: Nikon COOLPIX B500 16MP Digital Camera
Bowmar made a Sears branded version of one of their calculator, the Sears aka Model 728.5825. I may still have mine, but converted it to a wired transformer when the battery pack died, so it continued to work.
The Sears / Bowmar calculator was more affordable than earlier HP Programables and pretty much did away with the Slide Ruler that I had previously used, although I still keep the Slide Ruler around for when a massive solar storm takes out the electric grid. -)
My first introduction to handheld scientific Calculators was seeing a Physics Prof use an HP in the first years physics class where we got a light speed introduction to vector calculus for mechanics in 1972 September. I think he must have had HP stock, because by the next year a number of students had spent more than the cost of a year’s tuition on buying HP programmable calculators. A number of Physics and Chemistry labs had discrete component Wang Calculators, with the metal boxes containing the components fastened to walls high up in the labs. The displays for the Wangs used Nixie tubes.
In those days digital calculators still had LED displays, so classroom seats next to a wall outlet became in high demand for using and recharging, unless someone brought an extension cord with multiple outlets at the end.
Week Two:Sam Felton
Entry: Epson HX-20
Prize: Huawei MediaPad M5 Android Tablet
The first personal computer I owned was an Epson HX-20, complete with 300baud acoustic-coupled telephone modem and a microcassette drive to store and retrieve programs and data.
While the machine’s primary language was an EPSONized version of Microsoft GW-BASIC, the main attraction for me was the fact that you could jump into the monitor program from BASIC and work in 6301 machine code directly. I learned how to write structured assembly language code on this machine. I was very proud of the fact that I wrote an entire spreadsheet program (with a tiny, 120x320 pixel viewable window!) in BASIC with assembly-language fixed point math. It took me a week to write and almost a month to debug.
Believe it or not, I still have this machine, along with my first Apple (a Macintosh II from the late 80s). They both work; although I have replaced the disk in the Apple and the NiCd battery pack in the EPSON with a NiMH battery.
Week Two:Mirka Mandich
Entry: iPod Nano
Prize: GoPro Hero7 Silver Bundle
No childhood car ride was complete without my 3rd Generation iPod nano. I thought that light blue music player was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen, and begged my parents to get it for me for Christmas. My dad, ever practical suggested that I get the Zune instead because it had AM/FM radio, but I didn’t CARE, this one was CUTE! This was before the days of the touchscreen--back then, it was all about the scroll wheel. Searching for songs by title took forever because you had to scroll through the entire alphabet, so instead you’d use the Album menu to visually pick a bop. (Nelly Furtado, pictured, definitely qualified.) On the other hand, the pre-installed games were awesome. "Music Quiz" would ask you trivia facts about the songs in your library! So cool! I wish Spotify could do that. In retrospect, I agree with my parents that the screen was ridiculously tiny, but I will always love that little blue rectangle.
Week One:Edvard Gudnason
Entry: Hewlet Packard HP-25
Prize: Samsung Chromebook
The gadget that changed my life was the handheld calculator. Being Icelandic I do not even know the English name for the “slide calculator” that was used earlier and together with the logarithm tables. These were the tools we engineering students in the 1970s had to use. I enjoyed the privilege during my engineering studies to participate in the first exams in the University of Iceland where a hand held calculators (with the four basic functions) were allowed. I enjoyed the same privilege when I continued my engineering studies in the Technical University of Denmark. I soon acquired a rare item, the Hewlet Packard HP-25 which was a scientific calculator! Such things were not available in Iceland, but one of my uncles new a sailor that was on a freighter sailing to Boston. He undertook to find a store in Boston that sold the HP-25. If I recall correctly I paid just over 300 USD for it in 1975. The early HP calculators used what was called “reverse polish notation,” which is difficult to explain to modern people. We engineering sudents held competions amongst our selves who were faster at calculating, us that had the HPs or those that had what is not conventional calculators. As in many gadgets, the “best things do not always win,” since I think revers polish notation calculators are not on the market nowadays.
Week One: Robert Estes
Entry: Pulsar NX01-X001
Prize: Roku Ultra
Thinking about this topic, the consumer electronic device that I rely upon more than anything else, and which I have had for the longest time, is my Pulsar NX01-X001 digital/analog wristwatch. I have had this one for 3 years now, replacing the previous one which I wore for nearly 20 years. It keeps accurate time to about 5 seconds per month, which is good enough for me. The introduction of quartz-crystal-controlled digital watches in 1972 by Hamilton revolutionized the wristwatch business, and gave the public accurate portable time for reasonable prices by the end of the 1970s. My first digital watch was probably bought in college during the 1970s, back when my eyesight was better. This one has large digits and analog hands and a lighted dial to help out us nearsighted old fogies. I still remember my dad’s AccuTron watch, with the sexy see-through bezel that let you look at all the internal electronic parts.
Week One: Emmanuel Chaligne
Entry: EXL 100
Prize: Sonos Play
EXL 100 of the French brand Exelvision was a TMS7020 microprocessor based computer (from Texas Instruments) which was something atypical, with almost all of the family computers of the time being equipped with MOS Technology’s 6502 series microprocessors or the Zilog Z80. It came out in 1984 and was part of the “computer plan for all” in France. The design is quite innovative and the designers have made original choices. It has a separate central unit, something rare at the time for a home computer. Two keyboards are available: one with ruber and a keyboard “pro” to the touch more pleasant. Keyboards and joysticks were not connected to the central unit by a wire but by infrared link, and are therefore powered by batteries. Many extensions existed: modem, floppy disk drive, 16K RAM CMOS powered by a built-in lithium battery. Its sound processor, it is also a peculiarity, was capable of vocal synthesis. Variants: an ‘Exeltel’ was released in 1986, version with integrated V23 modem Public price was 3 190 FRF The equivalent would be 5 933.99 FRF on December 2018 Inflation over the period : 86.02 %, used index:FRCPI1998 (INSEE), Initial Index: 71.13, End Index: 132.31 Today’s equivalent in euros is 904.63 EUR
Week One: Sasha Nikolic
Entry: Amiga 500
Prize: Xbox One
The best device I ever owned was an Amiga 500. The capability of that machine was revolutionary for its time. It is the device that at the age of 8 made me decide to become an engineer. I wanted to be apart of the computer revolution. The graphics, sound, game play and simple ease of use was extraordinary. It took all other brands a very long time to catch up and take over in terms of a total package. There is nothing that I have owned since that I have the same passion towards or fond memories with. If it was not for that device I most probably would not have become an engineer nor an IEEE member!
Gameplay was something special. Some of the best games and apps I have ever played were played on that device. Populous, Lemmings, Chaos Engine, Sensible Soccer, Where in the world in Carmen Sandiego, Spellbound, Deluxe Paint and the list goes on.....
Week One: Md. Shariful Islam
Entry: Nokia 1650
Prize: Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer
My story is about a simple feature phone. Now-a-days it has lost its popularity, but still now I feel much for it. I don’t know weather it seems to be like unbelievable but its true that its my main handset till now. Its Nokia 1650. Then I was a 12 years teen and my mom bought this handset for her. Then it was one of the center of attraction of my daily life. Those S30 games like cricket cup, snake xenxia, beach rally were my companion. Above these, this handset is the spectator and messenger of my most of the main exam results. There was no internet, no external storage device like flash memory but it entertain our whole family much better then today’s smart phones. We were used to hear FM radio through it and alongside this we can also sent text to the RJs. Whatever these all are memory now but still encouraging to me.