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Take a Tour Through the Computer Museum of 1983

In 1979, the MIT Computer Museum was founded, and in 1983 the television show Computer Chronicles TV went to visit

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In 1979, the MIT Computer Museum was founded, and in 1983 the television show Computer Chronicles TV went to visit.

The tour highlights the early computers, like card punch calculators and the rare Whirlwind computer. The show’s correspondents get a demonstration of the TX-0, the first transistor based computer that used 5,000 Watts of power. They also show the first “portable” computer—a huge rack of processors on wheels.

At the end, they talk about the next big challenges in computing—integrating video and audio into the machines. Gordon Bell, the Former VP of technology for Digital Equipment Corp is interviewed saying that he can’t predict how important video technology is going to be when it comes to computers.

Computer Chronicles TV has other interesting looks at our computer technology in the 1980s, like this segment on software piracy from 1985.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Charles Babbage’s Difference Machine No. 2
When Computers Get Brains

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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