The PC/104 Consortium was established in February 1992 by 12 companies with a common vision of adapting desktop computer technology for embedded applications. This consortium has had a tremendous, positive effect on the embedded computer marketplace. The initial release of the PC/104 specification in March of 1992 was an open design offering the power and flexibility of an IBM compatible personal computer in a size ideally suited for embedding. Simple and elegant in design, while small but rugged in performance, PC/104 technology bridged the successes of the past with the promises of future innovations.
Let's take a moment to recall the significance of 1987 - thirty years ago. You may immediately think, "Yes. 1987. A fantastic year for the birth of tennis stars: Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, and Sara Errani were all born in '87." But I imagine your second thought is about PC/104, right? Well, it could be if you know your PC/104 history: 1987 marks the year that Ampro introduced the Little Board/PC single-board computer - one of the earliest seeds of the PC/104 ecosystem. Early collaborators such as Real Time Devices (now RTD Embedded Technologies) and Diamond Systems began developing compatible products as interest grew in the modular building block concept. By 1989, an innovative plug-in mezzanine concept was introduced; it was perhaps the first look at a stackable bus structure that could eliminate the need for a backplane. As the form and function of the 3.775-inch by 3.550-inch stackable PC architecture began to take shape, Ampro made the industry-changing decision to spin its proprietary form factor into an open standard. In 1992, twelve trailblazing companies would join together to establish the PC/104 specification and the consortium that bears its name. Stackable expansion buses, corner mounting holes, and a compact footprint proved to be a winning combination which quickly found popularity among embedded system designers. (Note: Many thanks to Rick Lehrbaum for his previous publications chronicling the early history of PC/104.)