Animated GIFs On A Graphing Calculator

The TI-84 Plus graphing calculator has a Z80 processor, 128 kilobytes of RAM, and a 96×64 resolution grayscale LCD. You might think a machine so lean would be incapable of playing video. You would be right. Animated GIFs, on the other hand, it can handle and [searx] is here to tell you how.

Before assembling his movie, [searx] first needed to grab some video and convert it to something the TI-84 could display. For this, he shot a video and used Premiere Pro to reduce the resolution to 95 by 63 pixels. These frames were saved as BMPs, converted to monochrome, renamed to pic0 through pic9, and uploaded to the calculator’s RAM.

To display the animated GIF, [searx] wrote a small program to cycle through the images one at a time. This program, like the images themselves, were uploaded to the calculator over the USB connector. Playing these animated GIFs is as simple as calling the program, telling it how fast to display the images, and standing back and watching a short flip-book animation on a calculator.

26 thoughts on “Animated GIFs On A Graphing Calculator

  1. If the frames weren’t assembled into a GIF file, it’s not really displaying “animated GIFs”, is it?
    searx’s instructable didn’t mention GIF at all. Why is Hackaday saying it’s doing something that it isn’t?

      1. This isn’t an example of analogy or metaphor. GIF is a specific file format with specific structure and encoding. The way you have things written implys that actual GIFs are involved, which isn’t true.

        If you had written “Animated GIF-like Pictures On A Graphing Calculator”, and written something like “Similar looking to Low-Fi GIFs” in the summary, you could claim to be using one of those above. As it is, the language in the summary and title is outright wrong.

      2. I agree with imroy264. Most hackaday readers are technical folks and know that a gif is a specific file format, not just a series of images.
        You say that the calculator can not display video, but 10 frames shown one after another seems to meet the definition of video.
        I think “Video On A Graphing Calculator” would get just as many clicks, and it would be correct.

        1. Brian has said they take the number of comments into account when seeing if a post is successful or not. This is obviously him trolling everyone, trying to get more comments.

          1. so much trolling success. After a while, HAD will just be full of hate-comments, click-bait, and ads. But we’ll all have moved to HAD.io by then, which can’t be as easily monetized in the same manner.

          2. “You might think a machine so lean would be incapable of playing video. You would be right.”

            Posted on a site full of HACKERS? Yep, [Brian] is trolling for comments.

    1. I don’t know why I was mildly surprised to find it’s literally just instructions on how to break a jar. The cutting step seems superfluous however. Seeing him try to drink out of it afterwards did make me feel like I hadn’t completely wasted my time.

    1. The TI-85 had a Z80 too. Every couple years they declare the current model obsolete and re-release the same calculator in a slightly different configuration. Thank you TI, for repeatedly making us pay ~$100 for mid-1970’s technology!

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