OT - almost. Tiny DIY Forth computer.


I just found this on the internet, and I have to share it here. Maybe many of you will already know.


This guy designed this tiny tiny kit, really cheap, that is actually a complete 8-bit programmable computer (including bitmapped graphics). This alone made me want to buy and build one. Then I noticed it boots into a Forth environment! And I realized how close Forth is to RPN/RPL.
Granted, this is a "vintage-y" project, but still, it amazes me to see something like this being built and sold these days! I expect to have lots of fun with it. I also found a tiny 3.5" TFT screen that perfectly completes it. Total price: £20 for the whole computer, £16 for the tv. That's about 55 dollars. Add a lithium battery and you have a complete DIY computer on the palm of your hand.
Isn't technology advancement amazing? :)




Indeed a very interesting design. It uses a ATMEGA168, a 16Kbytes FLASH ROM microcontroller, as seen by the pictures. It is the same one used in some Arduino design (UNO and DUEMILANOVE use ATMEGA328, 32K versions of the ATMEGA168). As you mention:

Isn't technology advancement amazing?
I'd add: Isn't it amazing what some guys do with currently available technology? My respect and admiration! There was a time when our amazing calculators were designed from scratch, having their hardware being also designed to match demanded operational specs. Today we see the opposite: there is plenty of ready available hardware, we now need to focus on what to do with it. Somehow what we face today is the result of an evolutionary process. I for one believe both approaches are valid, it is just a matter of how do you want to do it. I take as an example the very Monte's 41CL board. As I recall, based on its development log, both approaches were used: design custom chips at first, then use current technology to implement the final product. As for the existing technology approach, we have both Diego's and Meindert's designs.

"Isn't technology advancement amazing?" I do think so.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 18 Aug 2012, 6:28 p.m.


Link to the tiny screen?


I love Forth, and would love to play with this. However, it doesn't seem like it's easy to move programs back and forth (ha!) to the actual board. That limits flexibility.

Interesting though!



I haven't studied the manuals in-depth, but I think there is a rather simple program (multi-platform) to do that. And the board just connects to the PC via usb. I think it's a command-line utility, but a single command would do the transfer.

About the link to the tiny screen: I can't find the right one right now (I browsed dozens yesterday) but here are two options (I ended up with something more like the eBay link because it's cheaper and it's basically the same device):



Edited: 19 Aug 2012, 4:53 p.m.

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