Longtime hacker [Peter Jansen] was so impressed with a piece in The Onion from last year that he decided to build this coin-operated Texas Instruments graphing calculator console on a whim (video below the break — warning vertical orientation).
With nothing more to go on than the fake mock-up pictured from the original satirical article, [Peter] was able to scale the dimensions from the photo making a few reasonable assumptions. He built the project over the holidays, enlisting his father and daughter as helpers. The cabinet is framed in 2×3 lumber and faced with wood veneer covered plywood and vinyl overlays for the graphics.
The computing power is from a Raspberry Pi with an Arduino Uno serves as an I/O processor. It was a bit tricky to control a calculator with only two knobs, but he makes it work. However, at 25 cents per plot with no apparent hard-copy capability, this console calculator might be a bit pricey for all but casual plotting over a few beers at the local pub.
You might remember [Peter] from some of his hacks we featured over the years, like his home-brew CT scanner or placing fourth in the first Hackaday Prize contest in 2014 with the open sourced tricorder project.
Continue reading “Coin-Operated Graphing Calculator Console”
Consoles are obsolete the minute they are released. The onward march of silicon innovation ensures that consoles never are able to keep up with the times, but technical superiority rarely results in being remembered. That kind of legacy is defined by the experiences a device provides. A genre defining game, a revolutionary approach to media, or a beloved controller can be enough to sway popular opinion. But really…it all boils down to a box. All the spurious promises of world-class hardware specs, all the overly ambitious software ship dates, and even the questionable fast-food crossover promotions exist in service to the box. The boxes vying for attention in 2020 A.D. are the PlayStation 5 (PS5) and Xbox Series X/S/Seriessss (XSX or whatever the common nomenclature eventually shakes out to be). These boxes likely represent the minimum spec for the next decade in big-budget video games, however, it is the core identity of those consoles that will define the era.
Continue reading “Console Identity In The Age Of PlayStation 5 And Xbox Series”
The video game console is now a home entertainment hub that pulls in all forms of entertainment via an internet connection, but probably for most readers it was first experienced as an offline device that hooked up to the TV and for which new game software had to be bought as cartridges or for later models, discs. Stepping back through the history of gaming is an unbroken line to the 1970s, but which manufacturer had the first machine whose games could be purchased separately from the console? The answer is not that which first comes to mind, and the story behind its creation doesn’t contain the names you are familiar with today.
The Fairchild Channel F never managed to beat its rival, the Atari 2600, in the hearts of American youngsters so its creator Jerry Lawson isn’t a well-known figure mentioned in the same breath as Atari’s Nolan Bushnell or Apple’s two Steves, but without this now-forgotten console the history of gaming would have been considerably different.
Continue reading “Jerry Lawson And The Fairchild Channel F; Father Of The Video Game Cartridge”