Feb 21 - Dave Needle Day


Today, February 21, is Dave Needle Day

(photo taken at Google Campus by Reichart Von Wolfsheild)

In remembrance of Dave Needle.

People call me to figure out or solve all sorts of mysteries or problems daily ... but when I was stumped, I used to call Dave Needle.


One day I showed up to shoot an episode of Invention USA. The show did not have a 'safety officer,' or anything close to this. An amazing number of things we tested were outright ... lethal. This day, we were to 'live test' a type of Taser Gun that fired self-contained charges. In other words, a wireless Taser gun.


What it actually turned out to be was a device that projected a capacitor with the leads pointing towards the target (or victim), as the leads had been sharpened into spikes!


Without going into all the details, I was instantly very concerned about this. Tasers use very high voltage (low amps) to disrupt your nerves. But ‘caps’ unload all the amps almost instantly, and if they are high enough voltage, just one can do some real damage. Now imagine several being fired near your heart, which is normally not something that happens, but these were designed to do just this.


I held up production to call ... Dave. I took a sample cap and we began trying to calculate the risk here.  Dave instantly understood how serious this was, dropped what he was doing, and we worked to try to model dangers. Literally, an entire crew was standing by tapping their feet because I refused to even walk into the house until I had a clear understanding of what could go wrong.


I briefed the producers, and a few of the crew I trusted (one was a former EMT) what we can and can’t do here, and what to be prepared for. Delightfully the young inventor was actually clear on the dangers himself, and it turned out it was mostly something that started as a sort of prank that grew into contacting our show. Everyone was very professional and careful.


There are very few actual inventors on this planet, we lost one of the great ones when Needle-san, a Jovian who came to Earth, returned to Jupiter.

Proclamation Declaring February 21, 2017 as David Needle Day. 

City Council Alameda




File #:    2017-3909 (5 minutes)           
Type:    Proclamation/Special Order        
Body:    City Council
On agenda:    2/21/2017        
Title:    Proclamation Declaring February 21, 2017 as David Needle Day. (City Manager 2110)

Proclamation Declaring February 21, 2017 as David Needle Day.  (City Manager 2110)



In Memorium


Whereas, Dave Needle was born in New York, and made Alameda his home. Dave arrived in Alameda over 40 years ago, in 1974, where he met Margo, his soulmate; and

Whereas, he started his career at the Naval Air Station, Alameda (NAS) as an engineer, and went on to selflessly give of himself to the community, drawing on his entrepreneurial spirit to assume leadership roles in groups working to mitigate aircraft noise in Alameda, and to guide development here; and

Whereas, a major accomplishment was his detailed analysis of and debate with proponents of the SunCal housing initiative at Alameda Point, that was later defeated by the citizens of Alameda; and

Whereas, as a member of Citizens League for Airport Safety and Serenity (C.L.A.S.S.), the citizen group working with the Oakland International Airport, Dave represented participants in the noise settlement agreements between the Cities of Alameda and Berkeley and the Port of Oakland. He wrote computer programs now used by citizens and the airport to track and identify overflights, and helped analyze and resolve the FedEx nighttime cargo noise at Oakland International Airport and the AC Transit bus noise in Alameda; and

Whereas, during his career, Dave worked at Tandem and Apple, but it was as a video game designer and inventor where Dave's talents really shined; and

Whereas, Dave was instrumental in the formation and success of several hardware platforms, including the Amiga, and two computers he co-created, the Atari Lynx and the 3DO.  As an inventor, he held numerous patents in the video game arena, as well as several other industries; and

Whereas, sadly, David Needle passed on February 20, 2016.

Now, therefore be it resolved, that I, Trish Herrera Spencer, Mayor of the City of Alameda, hereby proclaim Tuesday, February 21, 2017 as

David Needle Day

in the City of Alameda and encourage all residents to join me in recognizing Dave’s significant contribution to our community.

Trish Herrera Spencer


Original post on LinkedIn by Reichart Von Wolfshield