Local Heroes


Hello, and welcome to a special edition of Local Heroes. This week I've come to London. Now, many of you will be watching Local Heroes on a flat screen TV. You undoubtably will have been plagued with the problems of the old style screen, and wanted a solution. My first hero this week also had this problem, and longed for a solution. In 1985 he patented (I've always wondered whether you pronounce that 'patent' or 'patent'. According to the Oxford english dictionary it's pronounced 'patent', but the people at the patent offices say 'patent'.) his design for the first ever flat screen. His name is Sir Clive Sinclair.
(cue old drawing of Sir Clive, complete with his name and date of living printed in an old script-type font)
It's in this house (dismounts bike) in King's Cross that Clive first produced these plans (holds up some plans) for his flat screen. Now I've used these original plans to make my own flat screen TV out of old scraps. You see I've used a cardboard tube as a cathode ray tube. This has to be precisely engineered, and Clive used one of his other inventions - a ZX Spectrum - to do the necessary calculations. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite accurate enough, and he cast a Spectrum on this wall when the cathode ray tube caused his flat screen to explode. Hopefully I'll have better luck... here we go. I'm going to stand back behind this screen just in case something nasty happens and... ha! It works! Well, it doesn't quite work, because you can see on this part of the screen the colours have separated slightly, producing a slightly blurred image. Clive's original screen, designed for his portable Pandora computer - which I have here - is much better quality. Now, I have to be very careful here, because only three of these were made, so I don't want to break it. But this same design was also used in his Z88, and in the Psion palmtops.
So now I thank that brilliant entrepreneur, Clive Sinclair, for allowing us to word process on the move.

Don't forget to send of for your Local Heroes pack (nearly falls off his A-Bike) - It's very good value! I'll give you the address at the end of the show.

Sorry, that's all the heroes for this week! See you next time!

If you want to recreate great inventions shown in this series of Local Heroes, then send off for your Local Heroes kit. We don't make any money, so it's only 9.95.
Oh, and it also contains some gunpowder so you can blow yourself up like I did in my 'Exploding Heroes' special.

Sir Clive with his TV80, or whatever it's called.
Sir Clive Sinclair 1940 -
PLAY > [Oh, and if you think this is completely made up, click the play button on the left to hear a key part of this script, just to prove it isn't.]

As well as making flat screen tellies, Adam Hart-Davis has made modern Blue Peter-style imitations of many other things, including the first ever fax machine (transmitting a picture from London to Birmingham - well, one side of a room to about three metres away), one of Thomas Telford's roads, hand-operated windscreen wipers for his bicycle (which, surprisingly, he managed to operate while cycling and didn't fall off. At least, not on the 23rd take.) and an excellent use for old Hank Marvin CDs - an engine which can run on the slightest bit of heat (made out of a CD, an elastic band and a few other things, and powered by his lunch). But most of the time they don't quite work properly.


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