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ZX Spectrum.jpgIn the era of smartphones and tablets and laptops, many still recall their first computer. Probably it had to be the ZX Spectrum.

Rick Dickinson, the designer of the Sinclair Spectrum home computer has died of cancer in the US.

The British designer, joined Sinclair Research in 1979. He graduated from Newcastle Polytechnic’s industrial program. He oversaw the creation of its home computers i and in 1981 he had won the Design Council award for his work in designing the casing of Sinclair’s ZX81. Besides being responsible for the boxy look of the ZX80 and ZX81 and the Bauhaus-inspired appearance of the Spectrum, Mr Dickinson also helped to develop the technologies for the UK company’s touch-sensitive and rubber keyboards.

Sinclair helped popularise personal computers in the UK by cranking out affordable, yet powerful machines that introduced an entire generation to computing and helped spawn the British hardware and software community.

Dickinson became interested in design as a child after playing with Lego and Airfix kits, eventually moving on to making radio-controlled aircraft and boats. His longtime ambition was to be a civil engineer.

The Alpia drawing board on which Dickinson designed computers in the 1980s is on display at the Science Museum in London.

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