[Rossum’s] still coming up with great ways to use his microtouch hardware. This time, he’s taken his inspiration from Amazon’s announcement that a full-color eBook reader (and movie player) is on the way. Judging from the video after the break, his fully functional reader is a big win for the device.
You’re probably familiar with the hardware, an ATmega644-based board connected to a touch sensitive LCD screen. You can make your own or buy one pre-assembled (but currently out-of-stock). The board has a microSD card slot making it quite easy to add books to the device. At the start of the project [Rossum] thought he might be able to read ePub files directly, but the embedded images, and unzip function needed to open the package file is a bit too much for the 8-bit processor’s restrictions. One simple step does the trick. A helper script can be used to format the files before transferring them to the device. This does the unzipping, scales the images, and repaginates the text into a format friendly for the display size.
Now if we only had a nice little case to house the hardware we’d be in business.
Continue reading “Full-color eBook reader needs only 8-bits of muscle”
Many people have touch-screen devices, however, this hack claims to be the first picture frame to feature a “no-touch” interface. Although someone somewhere certainly has a digital picture frame hooked up to a “Clapper”, we’re going to give [Wasabi] the benefit of the doubt.
After buying a Microtouch kit from Adafruit several months ago with the intention of building something meaningful, [Wasabi] ran into a common problem among hackers, a lack of time. Instead of totally giving up on the device, the decision was made to make it into a simple picture frame. Although the Microtouch features a touchscreen, it also features an accelerometer. With a little hacking, as described in his write-up, the “touchless” picture frame was born. Cleverly, the screen was hidden behind glass, but through this interface, interaction was still possible.
The device itself seems like a great hacker tool, especially at a price point of just under $70. Here’s a hack where “Zork” was ported to this device, but be sure to send us any other projects you come up with using it! Check out the video after the break of this device in action!
Continue reading “A No-touchscreen Picture Frame?”
[Rossum] just finished porting Zork over to the Microtouch. This hardware, which he originally designed, is now available for purchase through Adafruit. It’s a tiny 320×240 TFT touchscreen, driven by an AVR ATmega32u4 microcontroller. The device draws power from a lithium battery, and also boast a USB connection and a MicroSD slot.
The hack here is getting Zork to run with the limited resources available on the device. [Rossum] needed to emulate the Z80 processor, but didn’t want to use extra hardware in the way that [Sprite_TM] did when he emulated a Z80 using an AVR. Instead, this is based on a stripped-down implementation of Frotz. The final code is too big to fit on the chip along side of the bootloader. This means you’ll need to use an ISP programmer in order to flash this example to the chip. We’re pretty sure that AVRdude can program the ATmega32u4, so pretty much any ISP (including an Arduino) can be used to do the programming.
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.
[Peter] deserves an award for doing more with less. He’s built a handheld device based on an AVR controller that has features normally associated with much more powerful devices. Here’s what it doesn’t do: no phone calls, no text messages, no accelerometer, and best of all no app approval needed. What it does do is leverage inexpensive, readily available components combined with common homebrew development techniques to create a touch sensitive handheld.
The demo video embedded after the break details the device playing video, rendering 3D objects, and displaying pictures and ebooks with touch scrolling. All of this is running at 60 fps for a smooth picture. The whole thing is no larger than the 320×240 LCD that he salvaged from a broken MP3 player. An Atmel AVR ATmega644 microcontroller ties together the display, a resistive touch screen, and a microSD card for storage. The chip also controls the backlight, a Lithium Polymer battery, and uses USB for PC connectivity, charging, and even a mouse or keyboard interface. He etched the PCB himself for surface mount components and managed to do it with just four jumpers needed on the underside.
This is a big leap forward from the last AVR based touch sensitive device we saw. All of the functionality seen in the demo is run using 4k of memory and 32k of programming space. Because [Peter’s] powering this at 3.3v the system clock is limited to 12MHz but he’s managed to make it work. We asked him to post code and schematics and he didn’t hold back. Head over to the microtouch project page to download the code, Eagle CAD files, and PCB artwork. All of the demo files are there just waiting for you to build on his hard work. When you’ve got something running, don’t forget to share it with us!
Continue reading “8-bit device quenches iPhone envy”