Artifact Details

Title

Lectrice ebook reader

Catalog Number

102682791

Type

Physical object

Date

1995 ca.

Manufacturer

Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), System Research Center

Place Manufactured

Palo Alto, Calif.

Identifying Numbers

Other number epic pcb #011 On back of complete dynabook

Dimensions

in box: 10 1/2 in x 13 in x 16 1/4 in

Description

The object consists of 2 Lectrice prototypes. One prototype is complete and one is in parts.

Category

Fixed-application digital computer/eBook reader

Curator Notes

This is Lectrice, a very early prototype ebook reader, made long before a commercial market existed. It was the brainchild of Andrew Birrell of the Systems Research Center (SRC), later of Microsoft Research. It dates from the mid-to-late-90s and was part of several DEC projects in hand-held electronics that included SRC's Portable Jukebox (PJB), a prototype of which CHM already has, and WRL's Itsy, one of the first general purpose portable devices, which is described in WRL research reports.

The primary research paper describing Lectrice is here: http://www.hpl.hp.com/techreports/Compaq-DEC/SRC-RR-157.pdf

Aside from its novel purpose and specialized interface for reading books, Lectrice was the first device to properly deal with eye fatigue resulting from the lack of resolution of late 90s screens. Lectrice used gray-scale shading to "move" characters by minute amounts so that fonts appeared with proper proportional spacing, despite the crude dpi ratings of the screens.