Vintage & Modern Tech Blog

Spectrum Designer Rick Dickinson Dead

May 1, 2018

Rick Dickinson, the Industrial Designer responsible for the unique and memorable appearance of the Sinclair ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum computers, among others, has passed away in the United States following a lengthy battle with Cancer.


Rick's involvement with designing Sinclair computers ran right up to 2018, when he was involved with two unconnected projects to bring the 'Speccy' computer back to retro enthusiasts - the Vega Plus handheld console, and the full sized micro, the Next.


The ZX Spectrum Next resembles the 1984 ZX Spectrum + Upgrade with QL style keyboard whilst also offering newer upgrades such as CPU acceleration, more RAM, and a built-in SD Card reader for instant loading of software.


The original ZX81 and ZX Spectrum 16k/48k keyboards were designed with membrane keyboards to cut design costs and the overall size of the Spectrum was reduced by use of a ULA, similar to a CPLD

 gate array.


After leaving Sinclair Research in the mid-1980s, Dickinson later joined Sir Clive Sinclair again -  in the design of the portable Z88 Computer, a sort of laptop with integrated dot matrix display.


His ZX81 design won a British Design Council Award and Haus Industrieform Award in the early 1980s. The Sinclair QL was awarded a Smau Industry Design Award in Italy.


Dickinson's design and achievements will no-doubt be remembered for years to come.  





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