Thorn EMI Datatech

Following the acquisition/merger of the EMI group by Thorn, the company was re-branded Thorn EMI Datatech. Although still successful during this period, the Thorn-EMI marriage was an unhappy one, the low-tech mass-market business of Thorn sitting uncomfortably with the more creative, high-quality EMI electronics businesses.

The advent of digital electronics was a challenge for data recording. The award of a contract by NASA, codenamed Jupiter,  to develop and manufacture digital recording equipment for ground stations to receive satellite earth observation data led eventually to the development of the SE9500 formatter, a set of sophisticated electronics that de-multiplexed the high data rate (50Mbps!) to allow multiple simultaneous tracks to be recorded, then re-multiplexed on replay to reproduce the original data stream. The success of these products led to selection by ESA for the ERS-1 groundstation programme and many other digital recording applications in military, aerospace and instrumentation industries.


Satellite recording  Groundstation installation

A ThornEMI Datatech paper, presented to the European Telemetry Conference in 1987. “High Density Digital Recorders in Ground Stations

A glossy Capability brochure from 1986

Applications Brochures 1986

Data Recording March 86

Data Recording May 86

Data Recording August 86

Inseight Bulletins were quasi-technical applications info, designed as marketing material for the range of products made by SE Labs/Thorn EMI Datatech. Although listed under SE Labs and Thorn EMI Datatech separately, they are part of a sequence and were probably just reprinted when the name changed.

Inseight Bulletin No. 2

Inseight Bulletin No. 3

Inseight Bulletin No. 8

Inseight Bulletin No. 9

This Space magazine reprint from 1988 give a good background into the satellite recording activities.

Thorn EMI Datatech in Feltham also contiued to innovate. The Liberator has some claim to be the world’s first laptop word processor.

The division also built Sinclair Spectrum and QL computers under contract.