Syncopated Systems
Seriously Sound Science

About Syncopated Systems

Syncopated Systems is a technology product development and consulting practice with extensive expertise in system development and integration, primarily for interactive consumer multimedia, and mobile industrial automation and control systems used in transportation, autonomous vehicles, and robots.

Located in Sunnyvale, California—the heart of Silicon ValleySyncopated Systems serves clients generally located in the western and central United States, primarily in the greater metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon.


Founded during the 1980s by John Carlsen, Syncopated Systems operated until 2004 as Carlsen Electronic Research and Carlsen Communications.

John Carlsen is an electronic multimedia pioneer who contributed to the development of the first television tuner card for personal computers, early PC sound cards, and CD-ROM interfaces, and supervised the first pressing of Microsoft Windows on CD-ROM. After working for one of IBM’s two primary domestic research centers (Almaden) and video game legends Atari and Activision, Mr. Carlsen co-founded game developer Iguana Entertainment, which created the Batman Forever arcade game, NFL Quarterback Club series games, home versions of NBA Jam, and some of the first Nintendo 64 games, including Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and the first South Park game. After years at Altera, for SigmaTel he created the reference design and user interface used for most of the world’s flash-based portable audio (MP3) players, including Apple’s first iPod Shuffle. For Sony, Mr. Carlsen led hardware development of a PlayStation.

Mr. Carlsen’s journey with electronics began at age nine with his mentor and computer music pioneer LaFarr Stuart, who taught him to understand circuits from Control Data Corporation designed by legendary supercomputer creator Seymour Cray. After Mr. Carlsen began programming and repairing Atari computers, he expanded his operation by purchasing related inventory through the closure of a major national home electronics retail chain in 1985, the year he also started advertising online. Mr. Carlsen became a professional contractor in 1988 with his first major client, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell.

Mr. Carlsen has earned degrees in management and computer science from Saint Edward’s University in Austin, Texas and degrees in business administration, accounting, and technical communication from De Anza College in Cupertino, California. Mr. Carlsen taught computer game development at Austin Community College.

Mr. Carlsen is recognized as an IEEE Senior Member.


Syncopated Systems is not affiliated with Syncopated Engineering or Syncopated Products, which are located in Maryland and appear to have started around 2012.

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