Unique computer system on display in Worthing

Robert Furness, 61, with his prototype computer system on display at Worthing Library
Robert Furness, 61, with his prototype computer system on display at Worthing Library

A PROTOTYPE computer system, designed by a 61-year-old man from Lancing, has gone on display at Worthing Library.

Robert Furness designed and built the unique system, called Tiny Tim, while living at Mermaid Lodge care home, in Brighton Road.

The three parts of the system are on display in the library foyer until next Friday and Mr Furness hopes somebody will pick up on his idea.

He explained: “I am hoping someone might develop it. It took quite a lot of time and effort to build it and it would be difficult for me to get it developed on a large scale. To build the CPU requires soldering on to copper stripboard.

“The Tiny Tim computer is unique, there is not another like it in the whole world. It would be sad if the system could not be developed further.”

Mr Furness started on the Central Processing Unit (CPU) section at the end of January but has designed and built the other parts gradually over the years.

He worked at Post Office Telephones for ten years and did a City and Guilds in telephone systems.

“The old telephone systems were electromechanical with rotary dials,” he explained.

“On Tiny Tim, if you look at the red, yellow and green LEDs on the CPU, you see a traffic light sequence displayed.

“I built Tiny Tim out of my own savings, but now they have nearly run out so I am unable to advance Tiny Tim any further. Financing to produce documentation is desperately needed.”

Tiny Tim a 16 bit serial bus CPU for use with a 32Kbyte memory. The CPU operating speed is about 5,000 microinstructions per second with an 800kHz clock.

The prototype CPU is in an ABS enclosure measuring 11in x 8 in x 3in and it is accessed by a nine-pin D type plug on the back of the enclosure. A six-volt DC power supply to the CPU is required.

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