This week, I will follow-up on my previous Электроника MK 90 posts. There are few more common soviet scientific and programmable calculators that were made in CCCP. I will show two of the most common ones, but still very interesting: the Электроника MK 52 and MK 61. I will not spend too much time detailing them here, the web is full of excellent reviews of these machines – and the pictures are pretty self-explanatory.
What is interesting about the 52 for example, besides its shape, and expansion modules, is the fact that it is using the reverse polish notation (a.k.a the Jan Łukasiewicz notation). Yes, like the Hewlett-Packard calculators. Now, the new most interesting one I am presenting today is a Russian to be precise: the Электроника MK 161. This one is pretty remarkable and is aimed at computer professional and lab technicians for field data acquisition and processing. It is also using the reverse polish notation, and has a pretty good screen – with back-light! Battery-powered, it has a serial interface that can be used for communications, but also to connect en expansion memory module. Nice to see a modern product under this famous brand.
This system also exists as a desktop model – being to the 161 what the HP-97 was for the HP-67. Note the keyboard. It reminds me of the alphanumerical secondary keyboard of the Texas Instruments N-Spire of first-generation. To conclude this series on the presentation of the few remarkable systems produced under the Электроника brand, I have a question to you: I was actively looking for any information on programmable calculators & pocket computers designed and produced in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Of course, I am not talking about machines produces in China as we can understand it today (for example, the SHARP PC-G850VS was produced in China, but it was not an original Chinese design).
And no, the abacus doesn’t qualify :-). I asked a few colleagues and friends from China, but none could tell me more about the topic. So if there is someone out there who could share some info and pointers, it would be much appreciated! Those interested in the traditional computers – instead of the calculators –, there are several very interesting US congressional trip reports, on the state of computer science and solid-state electronics in PRC published during the ’70s. A last interesting book: China’s Leap into the Information Age by Qiwen Lu.