If you want people to really be impressed by your projects it’s often better not to have a fully finished look. In this case, we think hooking the stripboard version of FIGnition up to your TV will raise a lot more eyebrows than the PCB version will.
[Julian] put together a guide to building the computer on strip board. He’s using his own Java application for laying out circuits on this versatile prototyping substrate. This tool is worth a look as it may simplify those point-to-point solder prototypes you’ve been agonizing over. You’ll have to do some poking around on his site to gather all of the knowledge necessary to complete the build. Most of the components are easy to source, but unless you have them on hand, you’ll need put in a parts order for the crystal, the ATmega168, the SRAM chip, and the flash memory chip.
For those not familiar, FIGnition is an 8-bit computer with composite TV-out for a display and rudimentary input from the eight momentary push buttons.
[Derek Enos’] toils are starting to yield results. He’s been working on an 8-bit synthesizer that is MIDI controlled which he calls the deMIDulator. As he demonstrates after the break, the device has sine and square wave functions that produce quite a pleasing sound. But it also offers the option to record your own samples which are then modified based on the MIDI commands coming in from your device of choice. In this case he’s using a Rock Band 3 keyboard (or keytar if you will) in a much more creative way than its originally intended purpose.
For now we’ll have to be content with the demo video and a list of features as there are no other details. But open sourcing the code and hardware information are on his to-do list. Continue reading “8-bit MIDI synthesizer”
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.
[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]
Continue reading “Update: 6809 computing”
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.
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…
Continue reading “Human Tetris: object tracking on an 8-bit microcontroller”
[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.
Continue reading “8-bit game console with wireless motion controller”