When we talk about a retrocomputer, it’s our normal practice to start with the hardware. But with [KnivD]’s ELLO 1A while the hardware is interesting enough it’s not the stand-out feature. We are all used to microcomputers with a BASIC interpreter, but how many have we seen with a C interpreter? The way C works simply doesn’t lend itself to anything but a compiler and linker, so even with a pared-down version of the language it still represents a significant feat to create a working interpreter.
The hardware centres around a PIC32MX, and has onboard SD card, VGA, sound, and a PS/2 keyboard port. The PCB is a clever design allowing construction with either through-hole or surface-mount components to allow maximum accessibility for less advanced solderers. Full information can be found on the project’s website, but sadly for those wanting an easy life only the PCB is as yet available for purchase.
We’re privileged to see a huge array of retrocomputing projects here at Hackaday, but while they’re all impressive pieces of work it’s rare for one to produce something truly unexpected. This C interpreter certainly isn’t something we’ve seen before, so we’re intrigued to see what projects develop around it.
Hackaday Superconference is just a week away (precious few tickets remain), a celebration of all things Hackaday, which naturally includes creative projects making the most of their hardware. Every attendee gets a platform for hacking in the form of the conference badge.
To make the most of your badge hacking fun, plan ahead so you will have the extra components and the tools you need. At the most basic, bring along a serial to USB cable and a PIC programmer. These are common and if you don’t own them, ask around and you will likely be able to borrow them. Now is also the time to put in a parts order for any components you want to use but don’t have on hand!
The badge is hackable without any extras, but it’s designed for adding hardware and hacking the firmware. We’re excited to see what you can do with it. We gave an overview of this retro themed pocket computer a few days ago, today we’re inviting you to exploit its potential for your hardware hacks.
Continue reading “Supercon Badge Hardware Hacking: Here’s What To Bring”
For all the wonder of dulcet tones coming from a century-old music box, we’ve got to admit that [Markus]’ wavetable synthesis build is still pretty impressive. Of course, the Internet cred gained by doing a demo of Still Alive helps too.
Wavetable synthesis stores a one cycle long waveform in RAM that can be played on a loop at varying frequencies. This technique has been around since the late 70s and can be found in a lot of the classic synths of the 80s and serves as the basis for Atari MOD music and the Game Boy chiptunes produced with Little Sound DJ
[Markus] found a pair of battery-powered laptop speakers and decided a music box would be a wonderful project. Inspired by [ChaN]’s ATtiny wavetable synthesizer, [Markus] decided to up the ante and use a PIC32 microcontroller to make the programming a little more digestable. The entire project (with an awesome dead bug soldering job) is nearly as large as the PIC itself.
[Markus] threw up the source code along with some Python scripts to convert waveforms and MIDI files into something the chip can understand. Before you check that out, be sure to look at the Still Alive demo.
Continue reading “Music Box Is Still Alive With Wavetable Synthesis”
An accidental radial engine
Hack A Day’s very own [Jeremy Cook] was trying to figure out how to push four ‘arms’ out one at a time. What he came up with is a very nice model of a radial engine. Everything was cut on a CNC router and a motor from an air freshener provides the power.
Using a candle to produce light
[Chris] sent in his Candela Amplifier. It’s a Pentium 4 heat sink with a very bright Cree Xlamp LED attached to the base. A bunch of Peltier thermoelectric units are attached to the underside of the heat sink. Put the whole thing on top of a candle, and you can light a room. With a candle. Oh, he’s selling these, by the way.
Objectification and video games?!
We really feel sorry for our lady readers. Guys have so many choices for Halloween costumes, but just about every costume available for women can be reduced to, “Sexy [noun].” Whelp, here’s the Sexy Game Boy, just in time for Halloween. [kazmataz] gets a few bonus points because she went with the DMG-01. It’s better than Sexy Chewbacca, so she’s got that going.
Prototypable 32-bit uCs
[Ng Yong Han] wrote in to tell us about some newish 32-bit PICs that are floating around. The datasheet for the PIC32MX1xx/2xx chips is pretty interesting – USB support and an audio and graphics interface. Oh, they come in PDIPs for ease of prototyping as well. We haven’t seen much from the PIC microcontroller faction recently (Atmel is winning the holy war, it seems). Anybody feel like building something with these?
Makerbot dual extruder
[Lomo] at TU-Berlin is taking a class in rapid prototyping. He built a second print head for his department’s Makerbot Cupcake with a few other students. The result are pretty impressive, although from what we’ve seen, it’s generating the G-code that’s a pain in the butt.