Hall of Fame Consumer Electronics: Stories of the Best Gadgets of the Last 50 Years, Part 4

Original author: Brian Santo
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The third part

DJI Phantom Drone

Dozens of companies competed, creating the first commercially successful drone, designed for recreation and entertainment. The race was won by a Chinese engineer, more recently a former teenager.

Flying car: The first Phantom from DJI was equipped with a suspension specially designed for mounting GoPro's action camera.

The first Phantom from DJI could boast of remarkable engineering solutions, but if the engineering solutions and marketing of this little flyer did not support each other, DJI would never take off before peaks of the commercial drones market.

In 2005, or so, there were hundreds of companies capable of participating in the drone commercialization race; of them a couple of dozens got into the race. And yet somehow, a young man from China, who had barely entered a mature life, managed to completely occupy this market, the advent of which was seen by absolutely everything. The appearance of this market did not come as a surprise, a few years before that everyone could go to YouTube and look at vidosiki shot from self-made drones created in various research laboratories. The first rollers showed quadrocopters (at that time it was exotic), swinging heavily in flight, but soon they were followed by prototypes that demonstrated maneuvers worthy of the agility of dragonflies and hummingbirds.

It took off high: Frank Wang, director of DJI, whose capitalization is estimated at $ 5.4 billion, became one of the company's founders with 26 friends from college in 26 years.

Frank Van [Tao] was still a student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, when he and three friends founded DJI in 2006. The company was supposed to bring a radio-controlled drone helicopter to the market, which Van did as an educational project. The four moved to Shenzhen, for the same reason that businessmen in the United States go to Silicon Valley - money, industrial resources and talented engineers gather in China.

A precedent for manufacturers of drones can be considered radio-controlled cars. Most of the market, in terms of the number of sales in units, is made up of machines worth about $ 100. At this price, they are expensive toys. Some cars are larger, safer, more powerful, and their cost is already in the thousands of dollars. But, despite the extra power and reliability, they do not do anything that modelki could not have for $ 100. It's still just toys.

DJI started off pretty well, making helicopters, but Van wanted to expand production to quadcopters. The company began to develop its own technologies, including motors, flight control systems and suspensions - mechanisms that keep the camera level despite the vibrations and maneuvers of the drone. The idea was to create the most agile, stable and reliable drone possible.

DJI introduced the first quadcopters in 2011 (by then all the other founders, except Van, left the company). They were collected only partially, costing hundreds of dollars, and had value only for professionals and people, who at DJI were called “extremal amateurs”.

DJI was not interested in selling toys, and besides, it was impossible to make drones for the price of toys without resorting to serious quality compromises. The company needed to identify the markets, and it came up with an ingenious step: it began to compile a catalog of ways to use not just the drones themselves, but the flights as a whole. These included cinematographic filming, agriculture, the inspection of buildings of the energy sector, infrastructure and construction, assistance to the rapid response services. And for each of these options in the company have developed a marketing plan.

Cinematography has become the first obvious market, since many extreme lovers who used DJI products have already used drones for pictures from the air. The cost of hiring an airplane or a helicopter for the flight crew was estimated in thousands of dollars, even in the case of short and simple flights. A stable and agile drone, worth a few hundred, would make aerial filming simple and cheap.

On the red carpet: DJI Phantom became a hit at the Photoshop World conference in Las Vegas in September 2013.

When it came time to develop the Phantom, the company had already invented components capable of keeping the drone stable enough to take pictures, including not only the motors and suspension, but also the GPS navigator. The latter allowed the drone to remain motionless in the air, and in addition, to return back to the starting place in case of loss of the signal from the control panel. Before DJI made use of a standard in personal GPS drones, quite a few such devices were lost.

DJI engineers coped well not only with the main things, but also with the little things. The company produced good software that made managing the drone simple and easy. A great advantage for the amateur operators market was the camera mount, specifically designed to hold the GoPro action camera.

The Phantom, which sold for $ 629, was the first DJI model ready to fly, and one of the first drones designed specifically for consumers. To understand how he influenced the situation immediately after entering the market in 2013, you need to realize that almost all other quadrocopters were not designed so that they could be controlled immediately by any novice. The lack of GPS and terribly jerky control meant that they were thrown heavily by the wind, and sometimes they very quickly flew away in response to the lightest movement of the joystick. However, most people could immediately begin to manage Phantom'om. It could afford quite serious lovers of this hobby, as well as all who wanted to use it for professional purposes.

And the target audience immediately took it. The average person could get an impressive enough video when shooting with this drone so that it could be compared with the products of professional operators. The following Phantom models are constantly improving technological aspects, and they behave more stable in the air.

A bird's-eye view: Peter Swenson (blonde hair and blue shirt, bottom left) launches the Phantom over his home in Simrishamn, Sweden, July 2013.

The company does not disclose the details of Phantom drones. There have been several reports that the company has grown from an 8-bit microprocessor to a 23-bit MPU, which may indicate that the original Phantom was an 8-bit MPU. The 2015 article cites Chinese sources claiming that DJI assessed MPUs from MediaTek; in time, this coincides with the preparation of the Phantom 4. Often they write that DJI uses Ambarella DSP from WT Electronics Co., and this is almost certainly related to the Phantom 4 model, released in 2016.

The company has never once abandoned its approach, combining engineering and marketing, and continues to work with the markets from the original list. In 2015, she introduced the Agras MG-1 8-motor model, priced at $ 15,000, specifically designed for spraying crops.

The commercial drones market is still very small compared to the military. His estimates vary widely, but Gartner predicted in 2017 that sales from commercial, not military drones would be $ 2.36 billion in sales. And DJI, which, according to some estimates, occupies about 75% of this market, There are almost no competitors in this segment.

Electrolert Fuzzbuster Radar Detector

The path to the first automotive radar detectors began on one occasion, when the policeman stopped a speeding engineer for radar technology.

Switch and indicator light on the front panel - the first Fuzzbuster radar detector was a model of industrial simplicity.

Prior to the detector, created by Dale T. Smith in 1968, consumer radar detectors already existed. Company Radatron Corp. released them one of the first, or even the very first, back in 1960. But Smith had several advantages. He was an electrical engineer who had experience working with radar systems for the US Air Force, which could explain the high-quality performance of his radar detector. He entered the market very quickly, because it was then that the US police began to actively increase the number of radars used on the roads to detect reckless drivers.

And finally, Smith had a talent for marketing. The name he had invented for the detector, Fuzzbuster, ideally combined the functionality of the product with a slight antagonism that many drivers experienced to the patrol police. Since this slang is already out of fashion, it is necessary to clarify that at that time police were often called fuzz [Eng. down; and buster is buster, in a sense, a tamer / approx. trans.].

Part of the idea of ​​making Smith’s own radar detector was driven by the fact that he himself was stopped for speeding. "I will never forget this," - saidhe is the New York Times News Service in 1978. “Three policemen left because of one local radar. I checked their system. She was mistaken for 15 miles / hour, and with her help they wrote out fines for $ 280,000. Moreover, these radar operators could hardly have written their names. ”

Smith knew what he was talking about. He participated in the invention of these very radar systems used by the US police to trap violators, as they wrote in the November 2006 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine, which adds irony to this story. However, the details of Smith’s life are difficult to learn and even harder to confirm.

In 1968, in the United States, police radar operated at frequency X, at 10.5 GHz (later the FCC defined additional Ka and K bands for them). Smith began with a superheterodyne radiothat recognized the signals at this frequency. He put it in a black box, a little smaller in size than a box of cigarettes. On the front panel, he placed a small light bulb in a plastic casing. The drivers put the Fuzzbuster on the dashboard. If the device detects a radar signal, the light is activated.

I have a Fuzzbuster, ready to travel: the front panel of the Fuzzbuster II was decorated with a wood-like simulation with an influx.

It was impossible to come up with something simpler to use. Smith also liked to point out the fact that this simplicity was deceptive. “They are more than just small black boxes. Their complexity is comparable to the fire control mechanism in the F-14 fighter, ” he said in an interview with The New York Times in 1977.

Smith said that the range of Fuzzbuster reception was four times the range of the transmitted signal. Manufacturers of radar detectors do not converge in the maximum range of their devices; some claim three miles, others say four. But it didn’t matter, because Fuzzbuster provided drivers with a guaranteed time to slow down to a speed not exceeding the limit before the police radar received the return signal and issued a measurement result.

From the very beginning, Fuzzbuster was sold so successfully that only a few years later the term fuzzbuster was applied to all competitors' products. Electrolert , a company founded by Smith for the production of radar detectors, sold them for about $ 100 apiece.

Another sales surge occurred in 1974, when the US government limited the maximum speed on the highway to 88.5 km / h (55 mph). Hundreds of people rebelled against this restriction by purchasing radar detectors. Millions bought SV-radio, which truckers and other drivers used to warn each other about radar traps.

Why sales figures for different devices are so different? The use of radios was completely legal, and radar detectors remained the subject of ongoing legal disputes. In the early 1970s, some policemen even confiscated them and broke them upon detection, and they didn’t have anything for it. It is impossible to establish how often this happened. But at that time the drivers had a reflex to remove the device from the panel, passing by the police post. If you did not exceed the speed, the fine did not threaten you, but you could still be stopped and confiscated by the radar detector.

By the end of the 1970s, legalization disputes came to an end. In most states of the USA, radar detectors were outlawed for truckers, but they were allowed to use ordinary drivers. In several states, these devices are still completely banned.

There were no independent market assessments for radar detectors of that time, but by the end of the 1970s, manufacturers published statements in the news - which, quite possibly, were greatly exaggerated - that the overall market for these devices was approaching a million a year. By that time, according to Smith, Fuzzbuster occupied 50-80% of the market.

Defibrillator Heartstream Forerunner

For the most part, the development of a gadget that saves hundreds of lives every day around the world was financed with credit cards.

Simply, just one-two-three: the original Heartstream Forerunner, which appeared in 1996, was designed so that everyone could use it, simply by following the commands on the screen.

Sometimes "consumer" means "ordinary person."

Sudden cardiac arrest is on the list of the most common causes of death. Unlike myocardial infarctionin which blood flow to the heart is blocked, cardiac arrest means stopping the heartbeat. It comes suddenly and without warning. In the absence of immediate assistance, the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest every minute fall by 10%. Ambulance doctors [in the US] take an average of 8 to 12 minutes to arrive on call, according to statistics from the National Security Council. Count yourself. For people affected by this ailment, the chances are disappointing. Heartstream's

Forerunner has radically improved the chances of survival after a sudden cardiac arrest, becoming the first automatic external defibrillator(AED), which can be used by anyone, not just professionals, who will almost certainly arrive at the site too late. Now, at airports, schools and shopping centers, everywhere you can see AEDs there the size of a lunch box, which are simple to use and which very effectively give an electrical impulse of the necessary force that can restart the heart. Since 1996, when Forerunner appeared, AEDs have helped save tens of thousands of lives around the world. The US National Institutes of Health recently recently estimated that in the USA, AEDs save 1,700 people annually.

Heartstream engineers have spent more than a decade converting traditional bulky defibrillators into reliable automatic devices that anyone can use. The design of Forerunner was so innovative that the American Heart Association conducted a thorough research of the device, concluding that the external defibrillator is safe and effective.

The team that developed Forerunner began working with Physio-Control, located in Tacoma, pc. Washington. In the mid-1980s, Physio-Control began to develop a home defibrillator suitable for people at risk of heart failure. They managed to solve this problem, but it turned out that implantable defibrillators cope better with this. The Physio-Control device failed on the market, as Karl Morgan said, who helped develop it.

How to save lives: by 1999, external defibrillators increasingly began to be placed in public places; Pictured Chicago airport.

Morgan and several of his colleagues wanted to bring this product to mind, but for many reasons the director of Physio-Control was not interested in this. In 1992, engineers left the company and founded Heartstream. They really wanted to start working, but had no idea about the search for investments, so they just threw off, having passed all their credit cards, and vydoiv them to the maximum one after another. They almost ran out of credit when they finally found several outside investors. “We have done stupid things,” recalls Morgan in an interview.

In Heartstream they took into account the lessons of Physio-Control: the system “one AED for each” will not work, as Morgan described it. The team wanted AEDs to be used in the manner of fire extinguishers — it must be a safety device, widespread, small enough to be hung on the wall (even smaller portable AEDs used by emergency doctors), and usable by anyone in emergency to prevent the patient from worsening - or even solve the problem.

After that, the engineers had to develop a product corresponding to this idea. Traditional defibrillators installed in operating theaters are huge machines capable of delivering the strongest pulses — up to 350 J, and possibly 20 kW, using an oscillating circuit signal. A wall-mounted AHD operating from a battery must operate at lower energies. It must be automatic so that people who are not trained in medicine can use it. And it must be safe, so that people at the time of stress do not harm or kill themselves or the person they are trying to help. In particular, AED should not work if a person does not have a cardiac arrest.

Low energy defibrillators already existed. Implantable defibrillators used tiny batteries and gave out far less powerful impulses than traditional ones. They achieved this with two-phase signals that required less energy and worked as efficiently.

The oscillatory signal of a traditional defibrillator has one phase - this is, in fact, one surge of energy. A two-phase defibrillator produces energy in two phases. In a two-phase defibrillator, the peak current ranges from 30 to 40% of monophasic at the same energy level.

Inspired by the products of implant manufacturers, engineers from Heartstream experimented with two-phase currents, which no one has ever done with external defibrillators. They expected that the nature of the electric fields and signals should be different, given that the implant is located next to the heart, and the current from the AVD must pass through the sternum. It turned out that it was, but the good news was that they found that the two-phase current would work in the case of an external defibrillator.

Heartstream engineers also discovered that the waveform could be adapted to a specific patient. In this case, the results were even better, because the personalized signal takes into account variations in resistance, depending on the size of the person. To measure the resistance, two defibrillator electrodes were placed on both sides of the chest. Engineers have developed a method that measures the impedance between two electrodes almost instantly. He usually fit in the range from 40 to 100 ohms, as said Kent Layde, another engineer from Heartstream.

Forerunner then read an electrocardiogram (ECG) by recording electrical signals from the user's heart. The developers spent many months compiling the ECG, and used the data to create a complex algorithm. The algorithm first determined on the basis of the ECG whether or not the person had a cardiac arrest, and then calculated the desired waveform, taking into account the impedance (talking about the size of the person) and the characteristics of the ECG.

In the meantime, the Forerunner was charging a high-energy capacitor, getting ready to issue a life-saving discharge. Measuring weak heart signals simultaneously with the charge of the device turned out to be a difficult task, Leid recalls. “The noise level should be lowered to a pair of microvolts, while charging the capacitor to 2000 V. It turns out that you have a pair of inches divided by nine orders of magnitude - a rather interesting task of isolating the signal,” he explained. “We joked that it was like setting up a piano next to a rolling hand grenade.” Forerunner used a single microprocessor, says Leid, most likely the Motorola 68HC16, while the popular 16-bit embedded micronotroller. Also, AVD had a couple of specialized integrated circuits, high-voltage semiconductors, and high-voltage power. Most of the scheme was manually divorced,

Great job: Michael Tay - a member of the Boston Health Commission who supported the installation of portable defibrillators throughout the city - became the first person to be rescued with such a device when he flew from Boston to Los Angeles in November 1998.

To reduce the size of the Forerunner, it was necessary to use small but powerful capacitors, which at that time were few. They decided to contact Maxwell Technologies, a manufacturer of advanced capacitors, which worked mainly with major defense ministry contractors such as Boeing and Northrop.

Co-founder of Heartstream Tom Harris was responsible for a stack of credit cards, so he called the company, says Morgan. Harris explained what Heartstream was doing and asked Maxwell to make a prototype capacitor. “And they said: Yes, we can bungle you with a prototype,” recalls Morgan. - And Tom says: “Great! Are you accepting Mastercard? ”There was a long pause, and then the guy from Maxwell finally answered:“ Well, now we accept. ” And many of the people with whom we collaborated, so we went to meet. It was wonderful".

Heartstream suggested that users are unlikely to want to spend time servicing their AEDs, and devices must be ready to issue a full charge even after several months of inactivity. As a result, the company decided to use disposable Li / MnO2 batteries instead of rechargeable, the storage time of the charge for which it is impossible to predict. The company also built in a self-checking device, and it conducts a daily check on the power supply of the CPU and measures the performance of the power supply and the capacitor.

The CPU also fully charges the defibrillator twice every month, “once to calibrate the capacitor's capacity, and the second to stress check the impulse discharge system,” said project manager Dan Powers told EDN in 1998. “The safety circuit displays a large red cross on the LCD screen and chirps with a piezoelectric transducer in case the CPU stops updating the screen. This approach allows you to visually demonstrate the status of the defibrillator even when the batteries are very low. ”

Heartstream began selling Forerunner in 1996. In less than a couple of years, American Airlines flight attendants used Forerunner during the flight to bring the passenger back to life - this event got into the news and showed the value of having an AED at hand. A few years later, the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States obliged to install AEDs on almost all commercial aircraft. Various laws on “good Samaritans” were passed, limiting the liability of people using AEDs, while others provided public funding for installing AEDs in public places.

For a while, Heartstream held more than 50% of the AED market. In 1998, it was bought by Hewlett-Packard and included in its branch Agilent, then selling it to Philips in 2000. Philips changed the brand by calling it Philips HeartStart AED. The company claims that it is still the leading supplier of AED.

Morgan mentioned that the Smithsonian Institution has its own AED from Heartstream. “If you're American, you're proud of it,” he said. Even more, he is proud of the number of lives saved with the help of the AED, which, he claims, is in the tens of thousands. “We paid for the place we occupy on Earth with the help of Forerunner,” he says.

IPod docking station Wadia Digital 170iTransport

After long battles, audiophiles finally managed to convince the famous Apple company to open their iPod.

Wadia 170iTransport became the first device capable of extracting electronic data from an Apple iPod to play digital music through a quality digital-to-analog converter.

Appeared in 2008, Wadia Digital 170iTransport occupied one of the narrowest niches in the history of electronics: it only extracted bits from Apple's music players , such as the iPod, which allowed to convert this data into music using electronics, superior in quality to the electronics of the player. But this project was more important than you might think, since it was able to demonstrate that the digitization of music, which began about 25 years before, was not such a terrible mistake.

From a professional point of view, digital music sounds disgusting most of the time. In the digital world, there is a lot to do with music, and most of these operations will have a negative impact on it. And this often happens, both with listeners and with companies producing equipment for music reproduction. No deception - achieving excellent sound quality has always been worth the money, and in the history of recorded music there have never been moments in which good sound could be achieved easily and inexpensively. So it was with the Apple iPod.

When Apple introduced the iPod in 2001, it made two models: with 5 GB and with 10 GB of memory. Part of the advantage was that you could fit “1000 songs in your pocket,” as advertised campaigns proclaimed. Before the iPod, there was nothing that could hold a similar number of songs.

5 or 10 GB is both a lot and a bit. To stuff 1000 songs in 10 GB of memory, you need to squeeze the digitized music. This can be done in different ways, but at that time the most common was MPEG-3 encoding.. MP3 encoders compressed files: they took the numbers representing the composition and deleted a bit of excess. In part, it was data corresponding to the frequency that the human ear does not hear or perceives poorly. Some, but not all, data could be recreated, and therefore the MP3 format is lossy compression. The problem is that with the use of lossy compression, the sound quality deteriorates in many ways, and this is especially audible to young people with good hearing. Most of the losses are not very audible, but such an important characteristic as dynamic range suffers from compression - the amplitude difference between the loudest and quietest sounds that can be saved and reproduced.

Apple also made compromises in the gland. The company chose an inexpensive and low-quality digital-to-analog converter (DAC). She needed to meet a certain price, most of the people were still going to listen to MP3s, and use low-quality headphones for this. Therefore, the choice of cheap DAC was reasonable.

The cost of memory falls annually, and over the years the company has released more and more players (for the latest iPods, which are commercially available, the maximum capacity reaches 128 GB). Additional memory encouraged people who care about sound clarity to switch to other encoding schemes, for example, Apple Lossless — it also compresses files, but not as much as common MP3 options. Lossless coders do not discard sound information, so in theory they do not affect its quality.

By getting iPods, audiophiles wanted to listen to them just like any other stereo components, such as a CD player. Some of them bought fashionable DACs for hundreds or thousands of dollars, and, naturally, were outraged that Apple does not allow them to play files stored in the iPod without loss through their expensive electronics.

Stalemate situation lasted for years. Apple refused to upgrade to a better quality DAC, and did not allow anyone to directly access digital files. Audiophiles did not stop annoying companies about this, and in 2005, Apple gave up and announced that it would allow to bypass its DAC - but only to those manufacturers who agree to comply with the strict requirements of the company and will work under its supervision.

The first to do this was Wadia Digital. And it was a strange choice. She was known for components of the highest echelon of audio systems, the cost of which was calculated in four-digit prices in dollar terms.

The Wadia 170iTransport appeared in 2008, and looked like a standard docking station, but it wasn’t. After connecting the iPod, it only connected to the digital stream, bypassed the iPod's DAC, and transmitted the stream to another system equipped with serious sound playback capabilities (which is why it is called transport). That was enough to make the system worth $ 379 a niche hit, but besides using the iPod for high-quality sound, Wadia provided the device with the ability to play digital video.

“I think the model 170i has demonstrated that digital music has a right to exist,” said Chuck Hinton, vice president of technical services at Macintosh Lab, and an employee of Wadia (both of these companies are now owned by the McIntosh Group).

Hinton said he first saw the 170i at a trade show and was amazed at the sound quality. “People demonized MP3s, just as they had demonized CDs when they first appeared. But the problem was only in cheap DACs. Wadia has demonstrated that digital music may sound good, that MP3 is not absolute rubbish, as was wrongly thought before. Part of the problem lay in the gland. "

By the way, and perhaps not by chance, Wadia is known for developing high-quality DACs, and made a separate converter that complements the 170i.

Sounder for fishing Humminbird LCR

The origin of the device, which gave rise to the whole direction of echo sounders for fishing, can be traced to a couple of Kulibins who began to modify Heathkit echo sounders

Where they bite: the Humminbird LCR 1000 echo sounder, introduced in 1984, offered a simple interface with only four buttons.

Fishermen have used sonar sonars for decades. In 1984, the tiny company Humminbird , based in Yufaul, pc. Alabama, introduced the model, which was the first to use a microprocessor and an LCD screen. This combination, which the company called LCR, that is, the liquid crystal recorder [liquid crystal recorder], brought the company to a dominant position in the market and launched the modern era of high-tech fishing.

In many countries, sport fishing is considered one of the most common types of recreation. A few years ago, the American Sport Fishing Association estimated that at least once about 60 million Americans went fishing. Ernest Hemingway, Zane Gray, Richard Brautigan, Thomas McGuine, Negley Farson - these are just a few of the writers who described fishing in a language similar to descriptions of religious experiences. Norman Maclean wrote that fishing and religion, in essence, are one and the same. And since the fishermen take this occupation very seriously, they take great respect for the technology that facilitates this process.

In the 1960s, fisher-athletes increasingly used echo sounders, some assembled their own devices from sets that were sold by Heathkit. The story of Humminbird begins with a small group that included Tom Mann, an entrepreneur in the field of fishing. In 1971, he teamed up with some now unknown radiologist who worked in the hospital, and began to modify the Heathkit echo sounders (for example, shielding them from interference), and put the Humminbird brand on them. Soon, the company began making its own echo sounders, and in 1975 released the Super Sixty, the first waterproof model on the market. Super Sixty attracted attention to the company. It was popular - although not as much as the LCR Fish Finder, which appeared in 1984.

At that time, the echo sounder category for fishing began to get more complicated. The number of functions was growing, but the main problem was the increase in the number of buttons on the device. It was too difficult to figure out what to click to achieve a result. The displays also became more and more difficult. Manufacturers continued to add alphanumeric information to each screen, which made it difficult to perceive it by glancing at it. What is worse, the screens of that time were not behaving badly in the sun — and this was not a small problem, considering that people usually go fishing in nature during the day.

So when Jim Balkk, at that time the director of Humminbird, thought about what the company's next product should be, he concentrated on a device with which it would be easy to work in the sun.

The company's engineers chose an LCD screen, which in the instructions for the device was called “supercoiled”, referring to the technology of super- coiled liquid crystals (supertwisted nematic or STN) - this type of monochrome LCD screens were only invented in 1983. At the time, they were superior in characteristics to ordinary ones.

To go fishing: in later versions of LCR, the company updated the device, adding an LCD screen capable of displaying different colors, and came up with a catchy slogan: “If fish, then red” [“If it's fish, it's red”].

But if Humminbird has a new cool screen, wouldn't it be great to make some new opportunity to put it in the best light? Engineers decided to use microprocessors to analyze sound signals and graphic images of sections of the river bottom under the boat.

LCR showed the bottom contour with a side view. All items of large size, floating above the bottom, in most cases were fish, and displayed in the form of fish - pixelated, but distinguishable. The device had a good enough resolution to detect objects floating 15 cm above the bottom or 15 cm apart.

In response to complaints about the complication of echo sounders for fishing, the company supplied the LCR with just two buttons. “One turned on the device, and the other switched between different possibilities. Everything was simple. And the device took off like a rocket. For three years, profits grew from $ 6 million to $ 75 million and from 0% to 48% of the market share, having revolutionized it, ”Belkcom told Bassmaster several years later. About the two buttons, he downplayed, since the Humminbird LCR 1000 model had four. One to turn on, one to turn off, and another one to highlight the screen. But only one button really served to switch features.

The next model, Humminbird, LCR4 ID, added a color LCD screen (according to Balkcom’s application, bought from Hitachi). The bottom was black, and everything that could be a fish was red. They scattered so quickly that for a year and a half Humminbird simply had nothing in stock - the company was selling products immediately after production. After buying it in 2004, Johnson Outdoors Inc., she continued to issue innovations. According to her, she created the first three-dimensional echo sounder and the first echo sounder with a side view, which helped fishermen to look for fish. The company also boasts that it was the first to include GPS receivers in its echo sounders, and the first in 2012 to release a model with an image that unfolds 360 degrees.

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