Science Dynamics Corporation's rebadged IMSAI

This page was last updated May 15 2024(c) Herb Johnson all rights reserved except content authored by others. Search my Web site to find other Web page content of interest. My home Web page for IMSAI vintage computing is at this link. - Herb Johnson


Sherman Foy contacted me in May 2024, to ask about his IMSAIs which don't have IMSAI on the front panel. He's a retired test engineer who worked on minicomputers and the first generation of microcomputers in southern California. "I have two SCIENCE DYNAMICS 5000A's. They are rebranded IMSAI's, not clones, made in San Leandro CA. [That's where IMSAI began.] Each one has a dual floppy. IIRC, the floppies have normal IMSAI labeling, I'd have to look. The system units are populated w/ as many serial cards as they can hold, each cabled to a DB-25 on the rear apron."

The photo shows me the face of an IMSAI with a different black-film mask - that being all it takes to re-badge an IMSAI, "Badge" is maybe a better description than "brand". But if the cards inside are also branded science Dynamics that's another matter.

As far as information on Science Dynamics Coporation. I found some corporate legal reference stuff on the Web. A company at 2140 190TH ST, TORRANCE, CA, 90504 that merged into another company on 30 Oct 1984; that's a candidate. Datamation magazine Dec 1978 issue page 62, mentions that Honeywell licensed a mincomputer OS called CP-6 as follows:

" ....Science Dynamics Corp., Torrance, Calif. [an] on-line service
bureau for the medical profession. Science Dynamics was one of the first users
of CP-V back in 1973. "cp-v became available just as we were going on-line,"
recalled Sandy P. Panzarella, president of the company. "

"Panzarella said Science Dynamics got into what now is called distributed pro-
cessing right from the beginning. "We have microprocessors at the user sites.
Appointment scheduling is handled at the user end and they are hooked into a
network. They interrogate their own data bases, setting their own parameters."

So the IMSAIs were likely terminal servers; then data was sent somehow to their data center. It would likely be leased-line modems in the mid-1970's.

US5694546A US-6678360-B1 are two patents held by Science Dynamics, apparently communications patents.

A Sept 1974 Datamation magazine had an article, "WE BET OUR COMPANY ON DATABASE MANAGEMENT", pages 61 following. The article is about database management, not microprocessors. There's reference to Time-sharing and CP-V and Xerox Sigma 6 and Sigma 9 minicomputers. They collect data from customer's terminals during the day for batch processing at night - that suggests some kind of comm-link to a customer's micro or mini computer running those terminals.

So it seems "Science Dynamics" was a local automated accounting and records service, that used at one point IMSAIs as a client terminal server and presumably provided customer records during the day. the client's databases were updated overnight at the service bureau, a kind of combination of real-time entry and batched database/record management. Service bureaus with batch operations on their own minicomputers were common enough in the 70's and prior. My guess is, the company did not make equipment. Possibly they made or resold some custom S-100 boards. - Herb Johnson

Herb Johnson
New Jersey, USA
here's how to email @ me and to order

Copyright © 2024 Herb Johnson