Giving graphing calculators a new life

[Christopher] at Cemetech, ever frequent HaD feature for his hacked up graphing calculators, made it to the NYC Maker Faire.

He already posted on his blog he was making the trip up to Maker Faire, but we were lucky enough to catch up with him. Two things: the name of his blog isn’t ‘cement tech’, but ‘chem tech.’ Apparently he hates it when it’s mispronounced.

Secondly, he’s been turning in the TI-83s for a Casio Prizm graphing calculator. In the video above he tells us he’s gotten a few homebrew games running on the Prizm, a Lua interpreter, and is currently working on digging around the operating system.

Toorcamp: Quadcopter Controlled By a TI-84+

What happens when you combine a TI-84+ graphing calculator with an added bluetooth module, a 1 Watt Alfa wifi dongle, and a Parrot Wifi Quadcopter? You get a long range quadcopter that’s controlled from the TI-84+ directional pad.

This TI-84+ looks like a standard issue school calculator, but [Owen] added an ATTiny13 microcontroller and a bluetooth module which sniffs the I/O port of the calculator. This allows for bi-directional communication with a laptop. He wrote a few Python scripts on the laptop to receive data from the calculator and send commands to the Parrot Quadcopter. The high-powered wifi module allowed for pretty good range with the Quadcopter, which was flown across the Toorcamp grounds.

Of course, having an innocent looking calculator with wireless communications has some other uses. Data could be displayed on the calculator from a phone over bluetooth. How about accessing Wikipedia or WolframAlpha from your calculator? Despite the possibilities, [Owen] did say that he’s never used it to cheat on tests.

Global CALCnet: your TI-83 just acquired Internet

Global CALCnet lets you connect your TI graphic calculator to the Internet and use your favorite services like instant messaging and Internet relay chat. It also provides the option of worldwide multiplayer functionality for games ported to the device such as Scorched Earth and Tetris. We looked in on [Christopher Mitchell’s] CALCnet in December when it was being used to create local area networks with the adding machines. He’s taken that up a notch with a helping hand from Arduino. An Arduino board is used to connect the serial communications from the calculator to an Internet connected PC via the Arduino’s USB capabilities.

Think this will waste a lot of time in schools? Unlikely since an Internet connected computer is integral for this system to work. If you have a computer in front of you why waste time on the calculator network? Still, how hard would it be to build a WiFi module that can directly connect them to an access point? That may be a moot point as the Slashdot article that pointed us to global CALCnet also links to a calculator port of DOOM. It runs quite well, as you can see in the video after the break. This is a must-have for anyone owning a TI Nspire that can run it.

Continue reading “Global CALCnet: your TI-83 just acquired Internet”

Metal Race combines operation and calculator game

metal_race

[Greg] was feeling nostalgic about the game RACE for to TI-83 graphing calculator. In the game, your car is stationary with controls to move the scrolling maze from side to side in order to avoid a crash. He set out to build a physical version of the game with a don’t-touch-the-side concept that reminds us of Operation.

The game board is a wire frame constructed from paperclips then attached to a motorized frame. The vehicle is also metal and is attached to the lens sled from a scrapped CD-ROM drive. The maze scrolls from left to right with up and down vehicle motion controlled by two arcade buttons. An Arduino controls the motors and monitors the button inputs. He has plans to add a buzzer that sounds when the metal car “crashes” in to the wire walls of the maze. We’ve embedded video of the working game after the break. For more build photos take a look at his flickr set. Continue reading “Metal Race combines operation and calculator game”

ti-84 LED mod

Add lights to your graphing calculator. Do it now. [Sil3ntP8nd8] added some, and seems to have done a decent job. They are spread around the back, supplying a nice even light on, well, on whatever is under your calculator. It may be difficult to see too much detail though on account of the water marks. You have to protect your intellectual property though. This almost compares to the DS LED monstrosity we covered recently.