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Author Topic: Your dream calculator (maybe real sooner than you thought)  (Read 1881 times)

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Offline DarkestEx

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Your dream calculator (maybe real sooner than you thought)
« on: October 02, 2016, 10:15:18 pm »
Hello together.

I have been working on a prototype for a custom calculator. It only has a small, monochrome screen and a convoluted off-the-shelf keypad, but apart from that the hardware is the same as what I might use in a future project. It would be an ST ARMv7M @ 120 MHz with 1024 KB operating system Flash and SD card for program storage. It has 128 KB of RAM and also a coprocessor for WiFi. There is an app available to program it on the go with either your phone, your web browser or with the normal offline development tools you used to love.
What if I said that one could make a calculator out of that?
Would you like the idea?
What screen would you use? What screen technology? OLED, TFT, LCD, maybe even eink?
Also a custom keypad would be used. What layout would you like?


I am curious to what you come up with!


  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Original Commodore 64C, Tektronix AWG2021, IBM X60s
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Online kotu

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remove the wi-fi

wi-fi is weapons tech!!!!

moo  8)
  • Calculators owned: TI 84+CE-T
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Offline gameblabla

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I would have liked if it had a Dpad on the left and some big buttons.
More RAM would be appreciated because i still think 128kb is too small.

Eink would be very interesting to have on it, i heard they were going to release a multi-color one this year.
If you can't though, OLED would be very nice.
But please, not TFT.

Plus, it would be nice if it's able to generate at least up to 32k colors on-screen.

But i'm not sure if you can do that...
  • Calculators owned: TI Nspire CX, TI-89

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pixel shader pipeline
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Offline gameblabla

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pixel shader pipeline
you're basically asking him to put a RPI3 inside of a calculator.
That wouldn't be fun if it was so simple to build it :p
  • Calculators owned: TI Nspire CX, TI-89

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Offline DarkestEx

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Haha, thanks for the ideas :)

Upgrading RAM is not going to happen. I don't know why 128 KB should not be enough. Especially given that programs are never loaded into RAM to be executed.
WiFi is disabled by default to save power but can be enabled to transfer stuff between your phone / PC and the calculator.

A dpad totally makes sense! I will totally add that :)
Sourcing multi-color or even monochrome einks is hard and I don't think I will go this route.
Even OLEDs are hard to find in sizes that make sense. I will either go for LCD or OLED. TFT is nothing I will consider.

32k colors would take up a lot of memory. I don't really see any use of that tbh ;)
Wouldn't 8 bit color (with palette support) suffice already?
If the screen is high-res this would still eat up a lot of memory. And for a calculator, this would still do fine.
Also think about speed. If updating the screen takes too long, using the calc won't be too much fun.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Original Commodore 64C, Tektronix AWG2021, IBM X60s
<- Check out Claw if you like writing code once and having it run on most embedded devices alike :)

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Offline xMarminq_

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How about using the WiFi to play the two player games idea I posted.  ;)
Also how about Game-boy emulator support.

How much would it cost too? Estimates?
  • Calculators owned: Ti-84 Plus CE, Ti-84 Plus (can be borrowed from my school)
DJ Omnimaga   cuz any old keyboard i got is definitively not USB lol   8:13:19 PM
xMarminq_   Typewriters won't work  :Troll:
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Offline DarkestEx

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How about using the WiFi to play the two player games idea I posted.  ;)
Also how about Game-boy emulator support.

How much would it cost too? Estimates?
That would absolutely work. There could be an internet multiplayer or a local one depending on what you prefer.
I am quite certain that emulating the original GameBoy should be possible. I am not sure about the color one though.

I am trying to keep the price around 50-70€.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Original Commodore 64C, Tektronix AWG2021, IBM X60s
<- Check out Claw if you like writing code once and having it run on most embedded devices alike :)

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Offline xMarminq_

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USD?

EDIT

Did it anyways. 70 to 80 USD.

ANOTHER EDIT :D

Will it do an internet? Like playing browser games, if there is a browser or browser support.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2016, 01:51:27 pm by xMarminq_ »
  • Calculators owned: Ti-84 Plus CE, Ti-84 Plus (can be borrowed from my school)
DJ Omnimaga   cuz any old keyboard i got is definitively not USB lol   8:13:19 PM
xMarminq_   Typewriters won't work  :Troll:
 / __) (    _   )(   _  \ ( ___)(   \ / \ /   ) /__\    (  )       (   _    \     (  )    (  ) / __)     
( (__   ) (_) (   ) (_) ) )__ )  )         (  /(__)\   )  (__  (  / _\  )     (  (__)  )  \__ \  _
 \___)(___ _)(____/(____)(__/\__)(__)(__)(____)(_)   \_)(_)(______)(___/

Offline DarkestEx

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USD?

EDIT

Did it anyways. 70 to 80 USD.

ANOTHER EDIT :D

Will it do an internet? Like playing browser games, if there is a browser or browser support.
Well it depends. I am not yet entirely sure how to make it work in the best way. Also I might change the CPU for good. Is WiFi important for you or not. By removing that one could save some memory and make the device a lot cheaper.

And no, a proper browser would not work with 128 KB RAM.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Original Commodore 64C, Tektronix AWG2021, IBM X60s
<- Check out Claw if you like writing code once and having it run on most embedded devices alike :)

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Offline xMarminq_

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OK  :'( No diep.io for me...
You could use a micro USB to micro USB for the calculator and scrap the WiFi.  9_9

EDIT

What frame will you use for it? A old calculator frame or one that you will make yourself?
« Last Edit: October 04, 2016, 03:40:53 pm by xMarminq_ »
  • Calculators owned: Ti-84 Plus CE, Ti-84 Plus (can be borrowed from my school)
DJ Omnimaga   cuz any old keyboard i got is definitively not USB lol   8:13:19 PM
xMarminq_   Typewriters won't work  :Troll:
 / __) (    _   )(   _  \ ( ___)(   \ / \ /   ) /__\    (  )       (   _    \     (  )    (  ) / __)     
( (__   ) (_) (   ) (_) ) )__ )  )         (  /(__)\   )  (__  (  / _\  )     (  (__)  )  \__ \  _
 \___)(___ _)(____/(____)(__/\__)(__)(__)(____)(_)   \_)(_)(______)(___/

Offline DarkestEx

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OK  :'( No diep.io for me...
You could use a micro USB to micro USB for the calculator and scrap the WiFi.  9_9

EDIT

What frame will you use for it? A old calculator frame or one that you will make yourself?
There are a few options. In any case, will it be a new case. It would be CNC milled plastic/acryllic or it could be an existing project box that is CNC'd.
Or if you have an idea, let me know.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Original Commodore 64C, Tektronix AWG2021, IBM X60s
<- Check out Claw if you like writing code once and having it run on most embedded devices alike :)

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Offline p2

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eInk is that stuff those ebook readers use? That stuff is actually really cool... but it makes the use of greyscale impossible... so that's a 100% NOPE!
(maybe add stuff like a few additional loading bars you could use for game stats? like one big screen and aditionally 2 or 4 little bars besides the screen? That would be possible, but I guess it would look stupid lol

a switch for 2 or 3 different clock speeds would be really nice to have ^.^

also wifi is really nice, of cause! But wouldnt nfc or even bluetooth be enough for multiplayer as you got only small amounts of data to transmit? ;)
(But I agree wifi is nice for stuff like IRCs on calcs ^^

also I agree on the RAM point - make it as much as possible ^^
SD cards up to which size will be accepted? :) 4gb? 16gb?
  • Calculators owned: ti-83+, ti-84+, ti-84+, ti-84+se, ti-84+se(te), ti-nsphire, ti-nsphire CX-CAS, ti-voyage, ti-voyage, Who reads this list anyways...?
Anyway war sucks. Just bring us your food instead of missiles  :P ~ DJ Omnimaga (11.10.2016 20:21:48)
if you cant get a jframe set up, draw stuff to it, and receive input, i can only imagine how horrible your game code is _._   ~ c4ooo (14.11.2016 22:44:07)
If they pull a Harambe on me tell my family I love them ~ u/Pwntear37d (AssangeWatch /r/)
make Walrii great again ~ DJ Omnimaga (28.11.2016 23:01:31)
God invented the pc, satan the smartphone I guess ~ p4nix (16.02.2017 22:51:49)

Offline DarkestEx

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eInk is that stuff those ebook readers use? That stuff is actually really cool... but it makes the use of greyscale impossible... so that's a 100% NOPE!
(maybe add stuff like a few additional loading bars you could use for game stats? like one big screen and aditionally 2 or 4 little bars besides the screen? That would be possible, but I guess it would look stupid lol

a switch for 2 or 3 different clock speeds would be really nice to have ^.^

also wifi is really nice, of cause! But wouldnt nfc or even bluetooth be enough for multiplayer as you got only small amounts of data to transmit? ;)
(But I agree wifi is nice for stuff like IRCs on calcs ^^

also I agree on the RAM point - make it as much as possible ^^
SD cards up to which size will be accepted? :) 4gb? 16gb?
RAM is expensive. Like really expensive. 128 KB is really the absolute maximum I could give you. I will not bother with external SRAM and I really don't see a real reason to go for more than 128 KB. Again, this is the pure data memory. No program code is saved there unlike on the TI-84+.

Click speeds will be scaled as needed. User programs will run at the full 120 MHz for speed while the calculator program will run at half or quarter the speed for normal calculations to save battery. For bulk calculations, the clock speed will be restored to 120 MHz (e.g. for graphs).

WiFi is nice. I am almost sure it needs to be there. But I am currently talking to the manufacturer of the WiFi chipset as it might be unavailable in the near future.
NFC is not going to happen for a number of reasons, including the low distance and the low availability (I mean seriously, most phones still don't have it). Bluetooth is not going to happen either. While it is an option if everything fails, WiFi is still a lot more useful and convenient (and cheaper actually). If the WiFi chip I was looking into becomes permanently unavailable, I will go for the ESP8266 as a WiFi coprocessor, but I am hoping that it will not come that far.
Also, who would be meeting in real life anyways? It's not like the 84+ where everybody simply had one. Here you have to go buy something that you like and the next person who has one is probably not your bench neighbor. Over the internet plays sound a lot more reasonable. You can simply turn on your mobile hotspot and let the thing access the internet. It wouldn't be a data hog as there is almost no data sent.
SD cards are accepted up to 32 GB.
  • Calculators owned: TI-84+, Casio 101-S, RPN-Calc
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: Hewlett-Packard 100LX, Original Commodore 64C, Tektronix AWG2021, IBM X60s
<- Check out Claw if you like writing code once and having it run on most embedded devices alike :)

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