The Start-up

Digithurst began trading in 1982, but the idea of using a camera as a computer peripheral was not new. Two years earlier, Stephen Cronk and I had been working for a small electronics company called Sands Whiteley selling microcomputers – most of them grey imports from the US. The company’s main business was building process control and test equipment for British Leyland. While discussing ideas for peripherals that we could sell alongside microcomputers, Rod Starksfield, the company’s chief engineer, suggested a small camera-like device made from an array of light-sensitive diodes. It would interface to a Commodore PET and allow an attached robot to track moving objects. Rod, Stephen and I put together a project plan envisaging the Colne Electronics educational robot as a tracking device.

In the back of a cupboard at home I had a description of an edge detection algorithm developed jointly by Robotron, an East German computer company, and Karl Marx Stadt Technical College. Stephen had already created a software package for the Acorn Atom called Atomic Pencil based on a draughting system I worked on at the CADCentre. Atomic Pencil had sold well and there seemed no reason why we couldn’t repeat its success with a ‘Robot Eye’ system …

(Extract from The Ghost in the Labyrinth by Peter Kruger)



Next chapter ...