Friday, February 13, 2015

the colour of money

The first iteration of the Colour Vision system in 1988 was developed with Target Computers under contract to Epiglass paints included the assembling of the following ingredients:
  1. 1081 CRT Monitor with RGB component cable
  2. Commodore Amiga 500 computer
  3. Dot matrix printer (typically a Star NX10) 
  4. Stack of plywood, gloss paint and decals
Cutting short my second year of University had paid off and the world's first in store colour visualiser was launched in 1988 including an advertising campaign on BOTH national television channels.

The second iteration featured a much improved algorithm for pre-processing of display and higher quality images using a second generation scan and separate tool chain named "edpic". 

The algorithms maximized colour fidelity with dynamic palette modifications during rasterisation using a copper instruction list of some 20K instructions. The copper was a single DMA channel interface allowing automation of graphics hardware registers at a 5 pixel interval.

The Commodore Amiga 500 / 1081 combination allowed a full overscan interlaced PAL pixel clock even in US territories- all images on this page are from actual photographs of screen output.

A gang of edpiccers were employed in Ft Wayne Indiana to scan and separate a variety of architecture for the likes of Benjamin Moore Paints and Pittsburgh Paints.

Dot matrix printouts were replaced with thermal, the cabinets became laminated and the software continued to improve. 

I got to work in Fort Wayne, Indiana USA for three years, although I chose to stay in Markle, a magical little town 40 minutes south off I-69. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if this kiwi never returned home...

This was my ride, and a hint of the wonderful wilderness of Indiana.

Although much effort was put into exploring other visualisations for brick and tile markets, product development in general was not able to continue to improve at the initial stride and the enterprise subsequently halted in favour of a new enterprise, an Amiga collective named Acid Software.