Update: microtouch the 8-bit ipod touch

It looks like [rossum] and [Ladyada] have teamed up and been busy working on the microtouch. Since we covered it last year its had a few minor improvements like an upgrade to the ATmega32u4 microprocessor and some new software. The new and improved microtouch also features an accelerometer as well as some software to go along with it. Plus its now for sale on adafruit for about a quarter the price of an ipod touch (just in case you don’t feel like making your own).

For the unaware the microtouch is a lightweight AVR based ipod touch. It comes with a bootloader which allows you to download your “apps” to the microtouch without the need for an AVR programmer. While it may lack some of the computing power and features of the ipod touch (like music), the microtouch is definitely appealing for its open hardware/software and easy to use touch screen.

Update: 6809 computing

[Matt Sarnoff] is designing his own 8-bit computer from scratch. This means not only designing the hardware but also writing his own kernel and custom libraries. Since we last saw this 8-bit machine hes added both video and sound output which has allowed him to start developing some software for his computer (see it play Conways game of life after the break).

Sticking with the retro theme of his computer he uses a TMS9918 chip to output the video and a YM2149 for audio. The YM2149 was the audio chip used in the Atari ST allowing him to play songs generated for that system with a little bit of hacking to account for the fact that the Atari ST ran at 8MHz where his Motorola 6809 only runs at 2MHz.

Via [Retro Thing]

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Chipophone plays video game classics

This thrift shop organ gets a new life as an 8-bit music maker. Called the Chipophone, it relies on an ATmega88 to produce sounds that you might associate with classic video gaming. [Linus Akesson] takes us through all of the different sound settings in the video after the break, including performances of your theme music favorites.

The original organ uses transistor logic making it rather easy to patch into the hardware. Thanks to the build log we know that [Linus] used 74HC165 input latches to monitor each of the switches for the 120 inputs. Fifteen of these latches work like a backwards shift register 74HC595, cascading all of the parallel inputs into one serial signal. From there the microcontroller takes over, monitoring the keys, pedals, switches, and potentiometers and outputting the appropriate sounds.

[Thanks 7e]

Human Tetris: object tracking on an 8-bit microcontroller

Elaborating on an item previously mentioned among last weekend’s Cornell final projects list, this time with video:

For their ECE final project, [Adam Papamarcos] and [Kerran Flanagan] implemented a real-time video object tracking system centered around an ATmega644 8-bit microcontroller. Their board ingests an NTSC video camera feed, samples frames at a coarse 39×60 pixel resolution (sufficient for simple games), processes the input to recognize objects and then drives a TV output using the OSD display chip from a video camera (this chip also recognizes the horizontal and vertical sync pulses from the input video signal, which the CPU uses to synchronize the digitizing step). Pretty amazing work all around.

Sometimes clever projects online are scant on information…but as this is their final grade, they’ve left no detail to speculation. Along with a great explanation of the system and its specific challenges, there’s complete source code, schematics, a parts list, the whole nine yards. Come on, guys! You’re making the rest of us look bad… Videos after the break…

[G’day Bruce]

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8-bit game console with wireless motion controller

[Luis Cruz] built a gaming console with motion control. The circuit above connects via composite video to a television and communicates with a wireless controller. The controller is on a smaller breadboard which includes an accelerometer for the input and the infrared circuitry necessary for wireless data transmission back to the home system. Take a look at the first game he developed for it in the video after the break. There’s some details available (ie: he’s using ATmega168 and ATmega328 chips) but we’ve asked him to post code and schematics which he is currently cleaning up for mass consumption.

Ah, the 8-bit sound in that game takes us back to the glory days of Atari and Intellivision.

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Multichannel music generation for Arduino

[Drew] wrote a library for playing multichannel music on an Arduino. The project connects multiple piezo buzzers to the popular prototyping platform and handles the dirty work involved in modulating multiple buzzers at the same time. The video above starts with an explanation for the first three minutes but if you’re impatient you can jump directly to the music demonstration. The results are magnificent. We’re going to check out the code and see what we can make happen just as soon as we can round-up multiple piezos.

-hard plAYer- 8 bit tunes hardware player

For people who miss the golden age of Atari music, you can recreate the magic of 8 bit music with the -hard plAYer-. [Tolaemon] put a lot of thought and work into this hardware player. From the AY-38912 programmable sound generator, which used to be in old computers like the Atari or Colour Genie, to working with the YM file format, each piece is put together with the utmost care. [Tolaemon] also provides his design, firmware(ZIP), and parts list so that you can make your own hardware player.

[via Matrixsynth]

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