Tom Zimmerman worked at Atari from 1982-1984 where he was on
the digital audio research team in Atari's Corporate Research Lab
in Sunnyvale. There he worked on the AMY chip — a next-generation
audio chip. Tom, one of four AMY team members, wrote the 8051 code
to control the TTL prototype of the chip. The chip was never
AMY, which stands for Additive Musical sYnthesis, was originally
intended to be part of the Rainbow chipset, which was the core of
Atari's next generation of 16-bit microcomputers. Those computers
were never finished. Then, the AMY chip was announced to be the
centerpiece of the Atari 65XEM, an Atari 8-bit computer with
advanced sound capabilities. A prototype of the 65XEM was shown at
the 1985 Consumer Electronics Show, but ultimately it was another
computer that didn't make it to market.
Also: in 1982 Tom filed a patent for a “Data Glove,” a glove with
optical sensors to measure the bend of the wearer's fingers. He
turned down a $10,000 offer from Atari to buy the rights to the
Data Glove. The product would eventually end up at Nintendo, where
it became the Nintendo Power Glove.
This interview took place on March 7, 2022.
65XEM info at AtariMuseum
AMY chip at AtariMuseum
info at AtariMax