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Image Rockwell AIM65 computer, 1979

TLF ID M000269

This is an R6500 Advanced Interactive Micro-computer (AIM65), a general purpose microcomputer manufactured by Rockwell International Corporation in 1979. It comprises a processing unit, a small 20-column dot-matrix thermal printer, a 20-character display and a keyboard contained within a brown plastic case.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This Rockwell AIM65 computer was used at the CSIRO National Measurement Laboratory (NML). It was one of the first single-board computers to become available and accessible to a broad market at a reasonable cost (US$1,000). The computer was purchased by CSIRO in 1981 and donated to the Powerhouse Museum in 1997
  • The term 'single board' meant it could stand alone; there was no need to add peripheral control cards as it had built-in keyboard, printer and display. The AIM was specifically marketed to scientific research applications, in particular instrument control and instrument data logging.
  • The NML's decision to purchase a Rockwell AIM65 was based on several factors, such as low cost, capacity to be programmed, performance, precision and the reduction in time taken to analyse data.
  • This Rockwell AIM65 was used to control an adiabatic pulse-type calorimeter, an instrument to test the heat capacity of solid samples between 0.3 and 20 degrees Kelvin. The AIM65 interfaced simply with digital voltmeters, communicated without an elaborate interface to a network using a UNIX operating system or could operate as a stand-alone unit.
  • Two software programs were used. The first allowed the AIM65 to control the experiment and acquire data from the various instruments. The other program formed part of the UNIX operating system on the host computer network that received data from the AIM65. The AIM65 control program was written in BASIC, except for a short machine-language section that enabled a timer to act as a clock to pace the measurements.
  • Rockwell International Corporation was involved in technology innovation in a number of areas, including microprocessors, factory automation controls and motors, radios, advanced aircraft and space vehicles, communications systems and global positioning systems.

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Powerhouse Museum
  • Organization: Powerhouse Museum
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: NSW, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Name: Rockwell International Corporation
  • Organization: Rockwell International Corporation
  • Description: Author
  • Address: United States of America
  • Publisher
  • Name: Powerhouse Museum
  • Organization: Powerhouse Museum
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: NSW, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Curriculum Corporation and Trustees of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences 2009 (except where otherwise indicated). You may view, display, print out, copy and modify this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.