If Steve Jobs hadn’t pushed Steve Wozniak so hard on a deadline, we might still be looking at monotone monitors. Jobs and Wozniak got an assignment from Atari to create a game called Breakout. Jobs needed the money from the assignment as soon as possible so he decided that they would complete the design in four days, even if they had to stay up around the clock to do it.
It was in the stupor of tiredness that the idea for color computers was invented. Nobody expected color monitors to be part of computers because the cost was so prohibitive. Color machines had many chips and could easily cost a thousand dollars just for the color. Steve Wozniak figured out a way to do it with only one inexpensive chip.
Steve Wozniak said he only got the idea that this was physically possible because he had been going without sleep for four days straight and his head was in the hypnotic brain wave state of creative thought where normal obstacles are forgotten.
Wozniak was watching an Atari game where the bouncing blip was changing color. While staring at it he realized that Atari had just put Mylar color strips over a black and white monitor screen to give the illusion of color.
Watching this game caused Wozniak to think back to his knowledge of basic TV color electronics. He realized for color TV that signals go up and down at a certain speed. He asked himself, what if he could make a signal that also went up and down using codes of zeros and ones that were slightly different for each color.
It was a year after watching that Atari blip that the first color computer came out. Wozniak had succeeding in bringing a small miracle to life. Now we would never dream of having a monitor not in color.
Wozniak states that adding color to computers was one of Apple’s greatest accomplishments. He credits his ability to invent a system that could do this with the ability to let go of preconceived notions and to apply similar technology in a different, pared down and rebuilt way.
His invention is still the keystone for all color monitors today. As new developments make monitors and tablets move vivid and sharper, we remember that we can all access the type of creativity Wozniak showed for our own new inventions.
==== About the Author ====
Joel Cordle, is the Marketing lead at Idea Design Studio. Idea Design Studio is a product development firm that specializes in top-of-the-line design work for inventors. If you have any question on how to get invention help just contact Idea Design Studio.