Prior to founding LAVA, Roman Wynnyckyj ran Orange Computers. Roman started the company on a dare in 1981 and originally made a 16K memory expansion board for the Apple II. Pairing that with Apple DOS 3.3, it essentially became an Apple II computer. In 1982, Orange developed the OrangePeel computer, a fully built Apple II compatible computer with a detachable keyboard. It was bootable and had black-and-white graphics. Orange Computers managed to sell a few units in the U.S. However, when an order for a few hundred came in, Apple filed a suspicion of piracy claim and the computers were seized at the border. This led to a long legal battle that put Orange Computers out of business.
In December of 1984, Roman started LAVA Computer MFG. Inc. LAVA initially made a multifunction board for the IBM PC. Over the following 10 years (which Roman jokingly calls the Dark Side), LAVA released a variety of products as it tried to find its niche. It released Ethernet cards, Arcnet boards, graphics cards, parallel and serial boards. Some of its big-name clients included IBM, Epson and the House of Commons.
In 1992, LAVA started to focus on universal asynchronous receiver-transmitters (UART), which at the time, were used with dial-up modems. LAVA wrote Windows 3.1 and OS/2 drivers for StarTech Semiconductor’s 16-bit UART 16550 and 32-bit UART 16650. U.S. Robotics struck a deal with LAVA around 1996 to include a LAVA serial UART card in the box with each of its ISDN modems. At the time, U.S. Robotics was shipping roughly 35,000 modems a year. This exposure led to additional deals with Motorola and Adtran.
Around 1996-1997, LAVA became interested in producing a low-cost PCI card. LAVA engineers discovered an exploit in the PCI specification that significantly reduced the cost of production. Using a Xilinx FPGA board, LAVA was able to produce a PCI parallel card for $30. It began to release several PCI parallel and serial cards and became the de facto standard for Windows. LAVA also became one of the top three PCI card sellers in the world.
2000 - Now
LAVA IP System (LIPS) was first conceived of back in the early ‘90s but the idea solidified around 2000. Roman wanted to figure out how to put everything we use in the internet together in one chip. LIPS is an Internet Interface for IP-enabling small, embedded systems. It allows even the smallest of embedded systems, such as a single function sensor, to become a multi-channel Internet-of-Things device.
2013 - Now
SimulCharge is a LAVA technology that allows select mobile devices to simultaneously charge while maintaining access to data. LAVA discovered the technology while testing a Samsung Galaxy Tab for use with a serial-based POS system at Quiznos. A third party was trying to set up a customer loyalty program for the submarine sandwich chain. LAVA engineers built an adapter for the tablet to capture data from the receipt printer. In addition, they figured out a way for the tablet to charge while remaining the host, something even Samsung wasn’t aware was possible at the time. This was the birth of SimulCharge – a key feature of both our Enterprise and Home Series adapters.