A GPU for an Arduino

GPU

As the creator of the Gameduino, a shield that adds a VGA port and graphics capability to any Arduino, [James] knows a little something about generating high quality video with a microcontroller. His latest project, the Gameduino 2, blows his previous projects out of the water. He’s created an Arduino shield with a built-in touchscreen that has the same graphics performance as the Quake box you had in the late 1990s.

The power behind this shield comes from a single-chip graphics solution called the FTDI EVE. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the FTDI EVE, but this is the first instance of a project or product using this very cool embedded graphics engine. The Gameduino 2 uses an FT800 graphics chip over an SPI connection to give a 480×272 TFT touch panel the same graphical capabilities as a Voodoo 2 graphics card. From the video, [James] is able to put thousands of sprites on a screen, as well as simple 3D animation, and extremely impressive 2D animations using only an Arduino.

While the Gameduino 2 is designed to be a game console you program yourself, we’re thinking this would be even more useful as a display for standalone projects.

27 thoughts on “A GPU for an Arduino

  1. Not to detract from the project at all, but why is this being compared to a Voodoo 2 card? Unless this thing can do Z-buffered object occlusion testing, it isn’t comparable. And it has a max interface bandwidth of less than 4MB/sec, which isn’t enough for quake-like games.

  2. EVE is not even doing texture mapping, let alone Z-Buffer, traingle setup… EVE is a sprite/tile accelerator, somewhat similar to what pre 3D area game consoles did. This is a very clever design for memory bandwidth constrained system and no memory mapping, such as a slow emebedded CPU with SPI connection. But it really bears absolutely no resemblence to a PC graphic card, neither the 2D nor the 3D variety.

  3. GPU stands for Graphics PROGRAMMABLE unit, and AFAIK neither a EVE nor a Vodoo can execute code. You have been all powned :-P

      1. To be fair, he said “powned,” so maybe he is from the distant past and he knew the truth before those encyclopedias were written.

    1. Fartface is spot on here (shudder, that is weird)
      There are plenty of projects that this can be used for.
      I have a 4×4 and i can imagine a few stats i would like displayed on something like this as well as the radio functions.

    1. no, the py and BBB is MUCH MUCH better … but there are also other add on GPUs out there … not sure the use of this for its cost

  4. Holy shit!

    But yes… Using a RasPi with a LCD screen would bring you more GPU power and better results. But… This is truly amazing!

  5. http://store.arduino.cc/ww/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11_15&products_id=288

    Arduino TFT LCD Screen

    Code: A000096

    The Arduino Graphic LCD (GLCD) screen is a backlit TFT LCD screen with headers. You can draw text, images, and shapes to the screen with the GLCD library. There is an onboard micro-SD card slot on the back of the screen that can, among other things, store bitmap images for the screen to display.

    No graphics acceleration but it’s cheaper and out now and it’s an official Arduino accessory.

  6. This looks like a perfect solution for a tabletop arcade full of mini-cabinets, each running its own game in MAME. There’s a MAME for the Arduino, right?

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