Like any good plan, you should always start with the intention to build a time machine. That way if your future self succeeds, your current self doesn’t have to worry about actually doing it!
What they’ve created is something called a “dumb terminal”. Back in the days of yore before personal computers existed, if you wanted to get “online” you would have to do so at a dumb terminal. It’s essentially a monochrome monitor, a keyboard, and a serial port. You would have to actually connect to the mainframe to do anything — but back then, you couldn’t just hook up a modem — oh no, you had to use an acoustic coupler to connect. You had to play sounds through your telephone in order to communicate with the mainframe. How’s that for a bit of history with your morning coffee!?
Using a Raspberry Pi 2, they built a dumb terminal emulator — but not wanting to take the easy way out, they actually used a real acoustic coupler to communicate with a modem! It wasn’t easy.
This project has been a few years in the making — with most of the time used to collect all the components they would need for the project; including:
- Antique Telephone (G type handset)
- 300 Baud Acoustic Coupler Modem
- DTMF Tone Generator
- Private Branch Exchange
- Green Phosphor Cathode Ray Tube Monitor
- Model M (buckling-spring, clicky) Keyboard
- AT to PS2 Keyboard Adapter
- PS2 to USB Keyboard Converter
- External USB Fax Modem
- Raspberry Pi Dial Up Server
- Raspberry Pi Dumb Terminal
- Seamstress Computer Desk
We’re impressed. Check out the video — and you will be too. Of course we’re always flattered when people fix up old hardware and use it to load up the Hackaday Retro Edition. Nice work tymks!
And the terminal in action of course!