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12 July 1952
Šabac, Serbia, then Yugoslavia
|Known for||Design of Galaksija home computer|
Vojislav "Voja" Antonić (Serbian Cyrillic: Воја Антонић, pronounced [ˈʋɔja ˈantɔnitɕ]) is a Serbian inventor, journalist and writer. He was also a magazine or and contributed to a number of radio shows but he is best known for creating a build-it-yourself home computer Galaksija and originating a related "Build your own computer Galaksija" initiative with Dejan Ristanović. The result of this initiative is, perhaps, his crowning achievement – he encouraged and enlightened thousands of computer enthusiasts during the 1980s. Mr Antonić donated many of his personally initiated creations to the public domain, whenever they related to the common people or a fellow engineer.
After reading a book on Z80 microprocessor motivated Voja Antonić to create something with it. His first creation with a microprocessor was Conway's Game of Life machine that shows its state using 8x8 matrix of red LEDs. The machine reportedly worked flawlessly almost continuously since creation to at least 2006 (time of writing of this article).
Prior to the Winter of 1981/1982 Skiing Federation of Serbia timed the competitors using regular stopwatches and hand signaling. The upcoming Balkan competition required this to be improved and more precise and the skiing federation contracted Mr. Antonić to create a system for precisely timing each competitor.
The result was a small, battery powered computer packed together with liquid crystal display, printer and keyboard in Samsonite suitcases. Over the years five different models were built, named from "Arbitar" to "Arbitar 5", and were used for many years.
Design of alarm system at Elektronika inženjering.
In 1983 Mr. Antonić learned of the interesting way to have the CPU generate video signal, without the use of specialized video circuitry. He thought of this as a good idea for an inexpensive, "build-it-yourself" computer. "Galaksija" (pronounced Galaxiya, meaning Galaxy) was featured in the special ion Računari u vašoj kući (Computers in your home) of a popular science magazine of the same name, published late December 1983 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
Voja Antonić essentially released Galaksija to public domain and never required any compensation for it. He wanted it to be a project anyone can undertake and received only the compensation for writing the magazine article itself, not the computer.
Initial estimates were that between 100 and at most 1000 Galaksijas will be built. End result was at least 8,000.
In 1999 Voja Antonić created a logic analyzer, probe, serial interface receiver and frequency counter device based on Microchip Technology PIC16F84 microcontroller. It eventually became Microchip's "application note 689" (AN689) but was subsequently removed. Although the work was published, compensation for his efforts, Microchip in-circuit emulator "MPLAB-ICE 1000" was never sent to Mr. Antonić. Microchip claimed that it was prevented by ongoing sanctions against Yugoslavia. But after the author contacted Microchip in 2006 once again, they restored the application note and delivered the once promised tool in an upgraded version.
Increases in superstition and popularity of various fortune tellers at the very end of 20th century prompted the sceptic in Voja Antonić to try to do something about it. He decided that the best way is to write his first book, "Da li postoje stvari koje ne postoje – vodič za kritičko razmišljanje" (Serbian language, ISBN 86-902159-1-3). Excerpts can be found on author's personal web site.
To provoke interest, the book was packaged with a "dowsing pendulum" alongside the binding edge of the book. As per author's own word, this was done to make just an appearance of controversy. A chapter of the book deals with ideomotor effect and explains how there is nothing controversial about it.
Continuing his sceptical interest in fortune telling, Voja Antonić took action against a prophecy popular in Serbia, made by self-proclaimed prophets Miloš and Mitar Tarabić from Kremna village by the city of Užice. He uncovered that twelve issues of the book Prophecy from Kremna were all different and altered over time.
During his research he visited Kremna where he was offered the "original handwritings" of Mitar Tarabić, who was illiterate.
Being a proven inventor, Voja Antonić took pleasure in browsing other people's inventions and patents. He could not avoid noticing that many patents are at the very least naïve or just impossible. To top it all, he wanted to address the increasing appearance of people referring to patent applications as if they were actual patents. The result is yet another book, currently only available in Serbian, free of charge and in electronic form, on the author's personal web site.
Possibly related to this book, Voja Antonić humorously presents how to build a "Vampire detector" on his personal web site. The periscope-like device exploits the assumption that vampires do not have a reflection in the mirror and allows the operator (viewer) to quickly and easily switch between the straight-through and periscope views. He states that he will not apply for a patent because "Albert Einstein is no longer working in the patent office and nobody else would be capable of understanding the true value of this invention".
Voja Antonić wrote a number of short stories for his appearances in "Modulacije" (eng. Modulations) radio show hosted by Zoran Modli. He personally read them during live public broadcasts. Later he made them available on his web site (in Serbian language).
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