DUO Portable: A Homebrew Computer With Keyboard And Display


[Jack] is famous ’round these parts for his modern reinterpretations of very early computers. He’s created a computer entirely out of logic chips, a microcontroller-powered multicore box, and even a very odd one-instruction computer. For his latest project, he’s stepped up his game and made something that’s actually fairly useful: a microcontroller-powered system with an integrated keyboard and display.

The DUO Portable, as [Jack] calls his new toy, is built around an ATMega1284P microcontroller. Also on this board is a serial EEPROM that acts as a very small drive, a 102×64 pixel graphic display, and enough tact switches to create a QWERTY keyboard.

The DUO Portable boots to a primitive operating system where files can be created, edited, and saved. The programming language for this computer  is called DCPL – the DUO Portable Command Language – and can be used to create anything from a simple ‘Hello World’ program to a block-building game.

Like all of [Jack]’s homebrew computer projects, he’s written an emulator that can be run in a browser. There’s also video of [Jack] playing around with the DUO Portable available below.

If you’re wondering what music [Jack] is using for this video, I found it. It’s an Atari POKEY.

17 thoughts on “DUO Portable: A Homebrew Computer With Keyboard And Display

    1. i believe there’s something like this, but it’s just an add-on board to a quickstart board that has a vga port, ps2 port and audio

      .. oh just looked it up, it was called the pocket mini computer,.. also has a place for sd card and a wii nunchuck controller

      don’t know if anyplace still sells it

  1. Great build! The PCB even has a “vintage” feel to it (and I mean that in the best possible way :).

    Too bad there was only enough room for the Sinclair/Mac-esque single-row arrow keys… I guess with time and practice they’re probably okay, but I’ve been using an “inverted-T” for too long (and I’ve never been that good with my pinkies).

  2. What a great design – the low complexity and long straight lines along with the full keyboard make it very aesthetically pleasing.

    We need to get this guy a 3D printer so he can print out a case and bring it with him on the go. It’s great because it’s already battery-powered.

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