Sir Clive Sinclair - OT



#2

Taken from a recent article from the Telegraph in the UK , following Sir Clive's recent marriage in Vegas to his second wife, who herself has an intetesting background!

You will see he doesnt have a mobile phone and carries a slide rule with him.

" And the young, Surrey-born Sir Clive put his mind to an awful lot of different things. At 14, he designed a one-man submarine; by the age of 17, he was editing Practical Wireless magazine and selling earpieces to shops. Was he a nerd? “I’m not sure the word existed then, but I suppose I was: I got bullied a lot at school.” In 1961, after designing a pocket transistor radio, he set up Sinclair Radionics. The slimline pocket calculator followed in 1972, then the Spectrum computers. By the time he sold those off to Amstrad in 1986, Sir Clive was a millionaire.

Though not obsessed by technology (he doesn’t use a mobile phone, BlackBerry, computer or a car and has, since 1972, carried a slide rule in his pocket which he ironically deems “a lot handier than a calculator”), Sir Clive brightens at the mention of his current projects. In the corner of the room a stack of his new folding A-bikes are leaning against the sofa (“They’re half the weight of any other folding pedal bike in the world,” he says). And in his laboratory in east London, the Summer C5 (“the same concept as the old C5 with a completely new, improved design”) is being constructed. His great dream is to invent a “vertical take-off personal flying machine” to enable people to travel by air from one part of a city to another – and he claims to know how this can be done (“It will be entirely by GPS so you would just dial in where you want to go and take off”)."

Nigel


#3

I actually think a personal VTOL vehicle is very possible; however, im not saying I think Sir Clive will be necessarily the one to deliver it.

As I see it, it would be an autogyro, but with the blades underneath, surrounded by a skirt that prevents it hitting anything. As you know, autogyro flight works like a moving airplane wing and *not* like a helicopter (which simply forces air downwards). Thus the air flows upwards under the vehicle and out through vents on the sides. This means it does not cause massive air disruption below it and furthermore, no tail rotor is needed to correct rotational torque.

Experimental such vehicles go back to WWII. I understand the main problems were stability and control. Presumably today this could be solved by a calculator program :-)

The market for such a machine would be the elite rich – there are plenty of people who could afford one for the purposes of getting to destinations in crowded cities (like London).

I have concluded the main obstacle with this project is actually not the technology, but regulations. Presumably to fly it, you would need a pilots’ license (maybe a chopper license). There would have to instead be a special "low altitude" consumer flight license governing a new layer of airspace below all current flight paths, but high enough above buildings. Although, I cant see this happening in the near future.


#4

Quote:
The market for such a machine would be the elite rich.

I think this is the usual trend until mass production sets in.


Quote:
I have concluded the main obstacle with this project is actually not the technology, but regulations. Presumably to fly it, you would need a pilots’ license (maybe a chopper license). There would have to instead be a special "low altitude" consumer flight license governing a new layer of airspace below all current flight paths, but high enough above buildings. Although, I cant see this happening in the near future.

Who knows what the technology will have advanced to by the time the regulators have got themselves organised. This will give the technology time to mature with improvements from in-use experience.

#5

Quote:
... by the time the regulators have got themselves organized.

I don't think there will be an end to this wait :-)

I think people have a hard enough time not running into each other in the essentially 2 dimensional space of roadways. I can't imagine ever trusting my life to other people in a 3 dimensional travel space; whether they are flying around me or designing the software to "automatically" guide me to my destination...

I suppose horse riders said something to this effect about automobiles at the beginning of the last century so perhaps I'm a Luddite but it's how I feel right now.

#6

Quote:
... helicopter (which simply forces air downwards).

To be picky, I do not think this is completely correct. I believe the rotor blades are airfoils, so lift is achieved partly through pressure differential (like an airplane wing), and partly through forcing the air downward (like a fan).
#7

Quote:
I have concluded the main obstacle with this project is actually not the technology, but regulations. Presumably to fly it, you would need a pilots’ license (maybe a chopper license). There would have to instead be a special "low altitude" consumer flight license governing a new layer of airspace below all current flight paths, but high enough above buildings. Although, I cant see this happening in the near future.

In the U.S., "ultralight" airplanes are practically unregulated, and presumably this concept might apply to the personal VTOL devices as well.

Until they become numerous, then watch the regulations start. Eventually the ultralights will become regulated.

#8

IIRC, sir Clive's calculators (or some of them) were RPN machines.


#9

He had one 3-stack calculator that was very basic. I don't think Dave Hewlett or Bill Packard ever lost sleep over Sinclair's RPN calculator.


#10

Don't forget the Sinclair Scientific Wrist Calculator! Although not RPN it could have given the HP-01 a run for its money...

OK, reality check. No it could not have.

I built one of these miserable little things (which was not easy!) and although it did work, it was not practical. The six mercury cells that powered it did not last long and cost a fortune (for me at the time) to replace. It also did not have a watch function, only a calculator.
An interesting product for the time but it did not lead to the discontinuation of the HP-01.

http://www.vintagecalculators.com/html/wrist_calculator.html


#11

In a way it reminds me of DaveJ's Uwatch.


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