The Startup

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 …


Our core image analysis product range was neater, tidier and more lucrative than at any time since Digithurst started trading. The full range of products extended from the now rather dated MicroEye IC which, thanks [...]

Pets and Robots

Before Digithurst there was Sands Whiteley R&D. A tale from the Wild East which was high-tech in 1970s Cambridge […]