Tiny, Wearable 8-Bit VT100 Terminal

In the modern era of computing, the end-user is often quite far removed from the machine they’re using. At least in terms of abstraction levels, the user experience of most computers, smart phones, and the like are very far away from the zeros and ones. If you need to get down to that level though, you’ll have to make your way to a terminal somehow, and reminisce fondly about the days when everything was accessed through a serial line.

Nowadays, some harmless nostalgia is often accompanied by a challenge as well, as [Nick] demonstrated with his tiny serial terminal. It mimics the parsing and rendering of a VT100 console using an Arduino Uno and a 1″x1″ TFT screen. His goal was to make it wearable like a wristwatch would be, using two buttons as an HID device. With the size and simple interface, [Nick] also explores the possibility of mounting such a terminal to a pair of glasses.

While not everyone may want to interact with a serial terminal with only two buttons, it’s certainly a great demonstration of what is possible when it comes to implementing retro software in unique ways. There have been serial terminals implemented in many other unique places as well, such as old oscilloscopes and replicas from popular video games.

13 thoughts on “Tiny, Wearable 8-Bit VT100 Terminal

  1. While I currently use a Nokia N900 mostly over wifi for a mini-terminal(SSH and once even telnet for a printer)I have thought that a credit card sized clamshell with rubber or membrane keys like you see for small BT phone case keyboards and an LCD or TFT would be cool for functional futzing with Atmel sized microcontrolers. Maybe some DuPonts or even aligator clips out the back with~50cm of wire would be enough for hacking most projects. I might like an SD card to log, a wheel on the side to scroll, and maybe a switch to freeze&scroll and return to live.
    This is cute for making an I am a real computer desk toy, but probably too small to be useful for field debugging. That said I have said TFT will probably have one together in a printed case and in my toolbag by this evening just in case it is needed.

    1. I’m trying to find a spare plug for my HP 320LX which is suppose to be TTL level out of the machine, where the cradle converts to RS232. Then I can use it direct for serial consoles, pomona grabber leads or something.

          1. That’s fine if you’re in a pinch but if you’re travelling to different installations, especially if they’re customer installations, it would pay to have something with at least a decent case.

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