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DIY Laptop

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the from-the-ground-up dept.

Hardware Hacking 178

Brietech writes "Ever felt like building your own laptop from (almost literally) scratch? This is a microcontroller-based "laptop" built from the ground up from a handful of chips and other hardware found lying around. It runs a self-hosted development environment, allowing the user to write and edit programs in "Chris++" on the machine, and then compile and run them. The carpentry looks like it could use some work, but it's a neat project!"

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right.... (2, Insightful)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236786)

Yes I would like to be able to build a laptop like I build a desktop. A rickedy wooden box with a 20x4 blue & white, backlit LCD is not a laptop. Well I guess you could put it on your lap, but you know what I mean.

Re:right.... (3, Informative)

Noginbump (146238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237020)

It is a laptop computer, not a laptop PC.

Re:right.... (1, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237038)

That's something I would like to do as well - having repaired laptops several times (broken LCD fluorescent tube/hard disk drive/inverter circuit/sleep switch), a system that is completely modular would be extremely welcome. Have the LCD display detachable and could be used as a seperate LCD screen (having a video-in socket like monitors have).

The problem with modern laptops is that the chassis components (brackets/heatpipes/insulators/conductors/shields/ gaskets) are munged together with the electronic components. For a desktop, you just buy a chassis, power supply/motherboard and audio/video/network/memory cards.

Re:right.... (2, Insightful)

PresidentEnder (849024) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237226)

When we all talk about "building" desktops from parts off newegg I'm a little bit reminded of "writing" games by hacking a few lines into some TAs code in an indroductory CS class. While a great many slashdotters understand what their computer is doing, this sort of thing indicates a much deeper understanding than "I need a motherboard, a processor, some RAM, and a videocard."

Re:right.... (3, Funny)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237314)

When we all talk about "building" desktops from parts off newegg I'm a little bit reminded of "writing" games by hacking a few lines into some TAs code in an indroductory CS class. While a great many slashdotters understand what their computer is doing, this sort of thing indicates a much deeper understanding than "I need a motherboard, a processor, some RAM, and a videocard."What are you talking about? Ive got a clean room, photolithography, etching, cleaning, doping and dicing machines in basement. You insensitive clod!

Re:right.... (2, Insightful)

CasperIV (1013029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237540)

"this sort of thing indicates a much deeper understanding" Or it indicates way too much free time.

Re:right.... (2, Funny)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237406)

This reminds me, I need to get back on my "tricorder" project. Since I recently found a complete, pen sized geiger counter for $20 that I can build into it, the tricorder looks more likely.

Let's see: microcontroller with built-in DSP, EMF sensor, geiger counter, dangerous gas sensors, enviromental sensors, RF sensor. Am I missing anything?

 

Re:right.... (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237474)

X-ray or MRI, lead pants.

Re:right.... (1)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237612)

Some ports for simple electronics, ammeter, voltmeter, the like. Less Star Trek, more useful. Does the "dangerous gas" sensor cover Carbon Monoxide?

Re:right.... (3, Funny)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238184)

Does the "dangerous gas" sensor cover Carbon Monoxide?

No, Methane......

This tricorder can locate chili cookoff contests within 300 miles.

Re:right.... (1)

jotok (728554) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237638)

This sounds pretty interesting--the DSP most of all. How much storage are you thinking of putting in this thing?

Re:right.... (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237784)

light meter (I assume by "environmental sensors" you mean temperature/pressure/altitude/compass).

But, since your project is vaporware, let's consider a sensor package that will genuinely help your "away team" in the most hazardous environments to boost their mission completion rate. That, or to get laid. Same difference

A) Hydrometer (alcoholometer).
B) Particulate counter capable of determining both Cigarette Smoke Density and presence/absence of Cannabis.
C) Pheremone analyzer to determine presence and disposition of available members of either sex.
D) Audio analyzer/shock device to enable a Trekkie basement-troglodyte to be able to dance.
E) Breathalyzer/Bartenders Guide.
F) Beer-goggle error-avoidance system.
G) ConversATron device that emits a high-pitched whine whenever operator utters a TLA (such as TOS, TNG, DS9(I guess that's a TANA)).

Re:right.... (3, Interesting)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237484)

A $50 FPGA can be made to work as a 256 color VGA driver (or any size lcd controller you like), and you can easily get it to accept PS/2 input from a keyboard.

Then you pick your poison for processors, coprocessors, etc - as long as it fits on the FPGA.

You have lots of options [opencores.org] .

Re:right.... (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238602)

$50 FPGA? Is that only if you buy in monstrous bulk, or can I get just one? (If I can get just one for 50$ that would be _sweet_. Hardware lisp interpreter here I come...)

Re:right.... (3, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237514)

Well, then this article isn't for you.

Personally, I think anyone doing something different and practical like this is fairly interesting however useful (or desirable to ME) the end result might be.

This is not your place (1, Redundant)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237546)

You seem have to come to /. by accident, maybe you are attracted to CowboyNeal.

Go away now, it will be easier on everyone.

No, don't reply, just go.

Re:This is not your place (0, Flamebait)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237680)

1975 called they want their laptop back.

TEH LUNIX!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237714)

OMG, this and teh Lunix can help end the evil hegemonies of both Dell and Mikkr0$$$$loth!!!!

Soon, everyone in the entire world... nay, the UNIVERSE!!!... will be building their own laptops and putting Ubunto on them!!! Then all will know the glory that is being able to choose from 1000 different text editors, and having to manually configure hardware and install software! And games are SO over rated. Computer are made to run Lunix, not to play games on!!

Re:right.... (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238208)

Wow, feeling a bit bitter today, Mastershake?

Sure, you are not going to be playing Quake on this thing, but it is a pretty cool accomplishment nonetheless.

Re:right.... (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238408)

Guess I wasnt expecting a hobby laptop. Its cool and everything. Perhaps the most impressive is this guy wrote his own programming language to go along with it. I just thought it was a little impractical. I dont know why everyones so sensitive.

First post (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236796)

It looks amazing like an old programmable calculator with a real keyboard hacked onto it.

Mal-2

Cheater! (3, Funny)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236804)

He used premade components like chips and LCD displays. That's hardly building a laptop from scratch.

With a $50 budget, he could have picked up a 486 laptop that would be much more useful. I have a stack of old thinkpads that I paid nothing for and could part with for $50/ea.

Re:Cheater! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18236884)

Even better: Get a few broken laptops from Ebay for $50 - make sure the broken parts are different in both laptops - and create a working one from those... With a bit of luck you got a P4 for the same price.

Not from scratch but scrap...

Re:Cheater! (1)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237350)

Hell, my first laptop (more of a "luggable", really) cost $5. I bought it at a hamfest. It was a box of parts taken apart. I took it home, put it back together and it booted up. All that was wrong was one of the floppy drives was dead. I later sold it for $50.

Re:Cheater! (1)

smcdow (114828) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237432)

Yeah, but does your laptops allow me to make up my very own assembly opcodes?

hahah (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18236826)

How come any old DIY PoS gets posted here.. What's next? DIY Mainframe machine build in an old refrigerator box loaded to the tits with 8086's and some VFD?

How about some real project postings, not some crappy pic chip with a serial eeprom and hitachi display.. 4 months? I've seen 8 graders hack that together in 4 hours.

Choose a program from [0-9]?
1. THIS TEH SUCK
2. THIS TEH SUCK
3. THIS TEH SUCK ..etc.

aww (0, Offtopic)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236836)

chris++
isn't that cute

Re:aww (4, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237590)

I once developed my own language called SQUAT - just some higher level functions, basic I/O and a STDIN/STDOUT thang.

Mainly I wanted to be able to tell people that I know SQUAT.

Obligatory (5, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236862)

Hope he doesn't use Sony Batteries. That sucker looks like it could catch on fire.

Re:Obligatory (-1, Offtopic)

MadFarmAnimalz (460972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237050)

Those +1 Funny you're getting? I think it's your sig.

Re:Obligatory (0, Offtopic)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237464)

No kidding, did you read that? He was driving after suffering some kind of psychotic episode. He even had tunnel vision! Slashdoters, do not drive when you feel different from normal, even if God is talking to you or you think you are being divinely led.

With apologies to GEICO (4, Funny)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236866)

So easy, even a cave man could do it!

Re:With apologies to GEICO (0, Offtopic)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237018)

Shouldn't you be apologizing to cave men? God dammit, people see racism on TV and jump to imitating.....

Re:With apologies to GEICO (0, Offtopic)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237442)

Looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the rock today....

Re:With apologies to GEICO (1)

another_fanboy (987962) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237668)

Don't you mean cave-person?

OLPC (4, Funny)

JohnnyDoh (1057238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236880)

OLPC baby! Give them to the masses.

Re:OLPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18236992)

*Throws the laptaps back at you* we might be poor, but even we have more self respect then that *scratch ass, burps, takes a piss behind a tree*

That's some bookshop! (3, Funny)

chrism238 (657741) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236896)

Your university bookstore sells wood? !

Re:That's some bookshop! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237004)

No, but the cashier gives me wood...

Re:That's some bookshop! (1)

OfficialReverendStev (988479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237294)

All of them do, actually. It's usually found in sheets of about 8.5x11 inches or smaller and .1mm thick. I hear they carry a lot of it, often conveniently packaged, usually between pieces of stiff cardboard and bound together on one side.

Re:That's some bookshop! (1)

zigziggityzoo (915650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237890)

The University of Michigan bookstore (if there ever was an official one) does sell wood. At least, the one in the Art School does. If the demand is there, they'll supply it.

I thought it was rather good. (5, Insightful)

Dimentox (678813) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236898)

While it may be nothing based on modern laptops, and the title is a bit misleading, i thought it was rather interesting. What was interesting is that he took a proc chip, wrote his own os and compiler. It really was a DIY project. I dont think it needed that big of a box but otherwise it was an interesting find. I would be intrested in if we could really do laptops like we do Desktops, perhaps there is a site out there that has the parts. but over and all this was a interesting find.

Re:I thought it was rather good. (3, Interesting)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236960)

an OS in 96 bytes of RAM? Bring it on!

Re:I thought it was rather good. (2, Insightful)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237110)

While I can appreciate the value of doing something yourself, this seems totally useless. I figure I can find HP48's for $20 if I try hard enough and those are infinitely more practical, portable, and useful. Reinventing the wheel for the sake of being the millionth guy to do it as a cube seems kinda silly.

sweet a laptop that runs on 4 double A's (1)

sirmonkey (1056544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236916)

sweet!! a laptop that runs on 4 double A's

Re:sweet a laptop that runs on 4 double A's (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236980)

Coolest portable since the Tandy 100 [humanclock.com] .

I had a dream (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18236948)

I'm a pretty old guy so I'm kind of fed up of waiting for the so-called ubiquitous computing era. I find that modern electronics has piss-poor interoperability, usually by being intentionally crippled. Why can't I use my camera's SD as a USB drive? It's not a camera, it's a computer with a lens. Why can't I get a true handheld computer that can act as a USB host so I can control my camera? Because the stupid application only exists on Win2K and up, not for mobile Windows, and the handheld can't act as a host anyways. Why not? It's just software. Oh but there's USB-on-the-go, a poorly documented USB mode that requires a special cable, but the connectors look the same.

So why can't there be an industry standard of handheld electronics building blocks? Instead of an iPod, how about an IMod? A cpu block that you can tack on a battery, lens, HD or CF, and headphone amp. Then you create the driving application in some sort of 90's AmigaVision drag-and-drop metaphor.

Why is it in 2007 there still is such a thing as a seperate cell phone, walkman, camera, and you need a 14 year-old with a PhD to try to get a file from one device to the other?

Re:I had a dream (2, Insightful)

wolff000 (447340) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237150)

Money friend it all comes down to money. If things were as inter operable as you described we wouldn't need to buy as many gadgets as we do. The manufacturers aren't going to make things easy for us not in the sense you are talking about. To do that they would lose profit and heaven forbid they don't make their billions. I do feel your pain I am waiting for that day myself. I think by the time it comes I'll be a wrinkled old man and I'm only in my late twenties.

Re:I had a dream (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237166)

Because it's easier to milk more money out of Joe Sixpack that way.

Re:I had a dream (1, Informative)

oblivionboy (181090) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237384)

Its the "grumpy old man" post on slashdot. Haven't seen one of these for a while. .o.

Re:I had a dream (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237534)

You think it's bad now? Just imagine what slashdot will be like fifty years from now, when we will truly have a full demographic distribution of all ages in equal proportions, and up to 0.00002 per cent women. The grumpy old man posts will be the majority!

Re:I had a dream (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237810)

there are women of /.

Because some people don't want an all-in-one (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237710)

All-in-one devices have been around for years in various forms. And you know what? They almost all suck. Theres no point in something being able to do 10 things if it does most or all of them badly. When I buy a camera I want a camera. I DONT want a camera come phone come mp3 player come something else. I want to know its been designed from the ground up as a camera and will do that job the best it can and isn't just "a computer with a lens.".

Also if you're all-in-one super device breaks then you've lost everything in one go.

No thanks, give me dedicated devices anyday.

Re:Because some people don't want an all-in-one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237834)

It's spelled "cum". It's Latin for "and". You can proceed with the giggling now.

Re:Because some people don't want an all-in-one (1)

CaptainBruce (1066858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238002)

I think he is more talking about stand-alone devices that can work together. Instead of having 2 or 3 2GB memory cards lying around when you have a fancy schmancy 30 GB. Music player in your pocket with 20+ GB of free space. You should be able to use the player as a storage area without having a computer as a middleman. You should further be able to hook that device to a cell phone or wireless device and dump your photos to the nets. If every device saved to a standard format (jpeg, mp3, etc), used a standardised cable and could "sense" which end of the cable it had plugged in, all you need then is a standard tranfer protocol. It's a pipe dream but it really is the way things should be built. Hell, the standard format is only even needed where you care if the devices can read each other's files. If all you need is storage or transferablility format wouldn't even matter. Why anyone wants a filmsy phone that has a crappy camera and 512 MB of song storage is beyond me. Or why do you want to watch movies on your phone.

Re:Because some people don't want an all-in-one (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238200)

Well in that case I'm not sure what his issue is since if a device can be mounted as a standard USB file system (and every digital camera I've used can and so can most mp3 players - phones are another matter) then things are more convergent than he assumes.

Re:Because some people don't want an all-in-one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18238612)

Not true. Try it with a POS Canon S3. Good luck. You either need the special USB cable or have the drivers pre-loaded. Even then, it just shows up as a camera, you can't write a file to it. I felt like a grade A idiot when I brought my camera to work, took some pictures, then tried to email them to a co-worker. Woops, the camera 1st showed up as a defective device in WinXP. After about two hours of cursing and swearing, turns out that in order for a camera to drive a printer, the camera implements "USB-on-the-go" which means it can act as a host. Woops, nowhere on the camera or in the manual is the USB-on-the-go logo visible. You need a special cable, which just happens to look like every other freaking 5 pin mini USB connector. Oh but it has one pin that is grounded, instead of floating. So here we are in 2007, a camera with more computing power than the entire planet had fourty years ago, AND IT NEEDS A FREAKING PULL-DOWN RESISTOR to work!?!?

I feel like we're in the 80s. Oh but an Apple floppy won't work on an Atari drive, but it doesn't use the same ASCII as the Commodore, and well TI doesn't use the same plug.... etc...

You want to see some brain dead decisions? One of the latest Olympus bridge cameras has tons of features, can take a 4G Sd card, BUT COMES WITH USB 1.0 *ONLY*.

You bet I have issues. Yes, a camera is a computer with a lens. That's all it is. An iPod is a computer with a headphone jack. A cell phone is a computer with a RF front end.

They should just work together. In no way should a manufacturer decide for me wether or not I can use *my* SD card as a drive in *my* camera. IT'S ALL SOFTWARE. Even the terrifically insane Sony *finally* got it, about 10 years too late, that Minidiscs should show up as USB drives to be read/written to. If you plug a recent MD walkman to any machine with any USB cable, it *will* show up as a drive. Period. That's all I want. The ATRAC/MP3 issue is another story.

Just implement the basics, stop using insane custom connectors with criminally overpriced cables, and GET THE SHIT WORKING TOGETHER.

Re:I had a dream (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237758)

That sound a bit like the 'computer' I'm going to stick in my car.
A CPU with a bit of ram and everything else (wireless, harddrive, flash card reader, sound card etc...)running off of usb.

Re:I had a dream (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237930)

It all comes down to money.

If you can do what you want with your own stuff, the big corporations can't sell you more stuff. Therefore, the big corporations deliberately keep you from using your stuff how you want to. And your 14-year-old with a Ph. D. is a dangerous criminal!

Re:I had a dream (1)

Kahm-Hime (73765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238410)

Just a minor nit - pick. The Mini-A connector for USB on the go hosting looks similar to the mini-b client only connector, but they are not the same. You can't plug a Mini-A plug into a non-host capable mini-B connector. The Mini-A connector acts like a host or a client depending on whether a Mini-A or Mini-B cable is plugged in. Rather neat, actually.

I've got a couple of Sharp Zaurii that can USB host with a Mini-A cable, and connect to a computer using a regular Mini-B cable.

Nice (1)

bogomipz (807251) | more than 7 years ago | (#18236964)

Even though I expected the screen to be a tad bigger and Chris++ to be a bit more high level...

...imagine a Beowulf cluster of these cigar boxen!!!1!!1

Re:Nice (4, Funny)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237058)

I'm sure Chris# will be a much more full-featured language. You should have seen the original Chris language; that was a monster to work with.

Re:Nice (1)

theheff (894014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237880)

Furthermore, ChrisT will be able to revive laptops from the dead...

More DIY Laptops (4, Interesting)

wehe (135130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237010)

There is an interesting overview of guides to make a do-it-yourself laptop [repair4laptop.org] at Repair4Laptop. If you don't want to build it completely from scratch you can consider to make it as a so-called barebone or white box laptop. Barebones are also featured in a separate section of the overview.

Cut him some slack already... (4, Insightful)

TigerNut (718742) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237012)

Your laptop with its "modern" $(OS) spends about 99% of its CPU cycles supporting itself. What we're seeing here could be viewed as an attempt to improve the cycles-for-the-user ratio, if nothing else. If just I want to add a couple of numbers together or edit a document, do I need, or should I have to pay for, the ability to simultaneously have an MPEG movie playing in the background?

Stripping a computer back to its bare essentials is an art. Real hot rods don't have air conditioning. Real computers don't need 3GHz CPUs, 2GB of RAM, and a 500 watt power supply to present an interactive user interface.

Re:Cut him some slack already... (2, Interesting)

RattFink (93631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237064)

If just I want to add a couple of numbers together or edit a document, do I need, or should I have to pay for, the ability to simultaneously have an MPEG movie playing in the background?


I don't know about you but if I want to add numbers together I use a $9 calculator. Granted you cannot edit a document on a calculator but it's quite unlikely you can in 96 bytes of ram.

Oh please... (0, Troll)

Temkin (112574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237040)



(Yawn...) Go find the 8052-BASIC code on the net, program it into a modern '51 variant like a DS89C450 or AT89C51ED2, attach a serial LCD & keyboard, and you've got way more than 256 lines a second execution speed...

Re:Oh please... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237788)

Then do it and post it on Slashdot. Otherwise, STFU.

Welcome to 1982 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237066)

Bah, the Osborne was better. Hell, the Sinclair was better. Why not use the ARM or some other cheap processor, LCD displays are cheap and available. BAH.

Ugly baby (4, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237200)

It's sort of like when a friend or relative introduces you to their new baby and you wonder how they managed to get that giant head on that thing, only you can't really say that without hurting their feelings because everyone thinks their baby is the most beautiful one ever. In reality it's just a baby and some of them are not all that attractive, especially to people who don't have or want kids. Which the preface to my comment about that laptop: I'm sorry, but that's just one butt ugly computer.

What!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237204)

The Mother-F*cker killed a tree for that?

If he was going to do a computer he should have used an ATMEL, an FPU, a full size LCD, and a few support chips and actually made something of use.

Re:What!? (4, Funny)

RattFink (93631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237284)

The Mother-F*cker killed a tree for that?

Don't worry the rest of the tree was use for credit card applications, AOL CD mailers and other fine publications.

Didn't expect to see a PICAXE processor (2, Interesting)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237230)

The PICAXE [picaxe.co.uk] is in essence a Microchip PIC [microchip.com] microcontroller with a custom bootloader to load programs into memory and execute them on reboot/reset.

I was sort of expecting a general CPU, even if a vintage chip like the ZiLOG Z80 [z80.info] , MOS Technologies' 6502 [6502.org] , Motorola's 6800 / 6802, or intel's 8088 / 8086 microprocessors.

It seems more suited to O'Reilly's MAKE magazine [make-zine.com] and their blog, then on Slashdot.

Neat (5, Insightful)

wolff000 (447340) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237240)

It may not win in looks, or processing power, or graphics, or any thing for that matter but it was a neat project. They guy spent some real time piecing things together with chips instead of just using a mini itx board. The fact he made his own language to program it is a definite plus. It isn't something I would make myself but a nice DIY project none the less. I don't quite get what all the complaints are about even if it is a glorified calculator he built it himself. When was the last time any of you built something starting with just a handful of chips?

Re:Neat (1)

prelelat (201821) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237368)

I did this in collage. Of course I didn't take the time to attach a keyboard, write my own program language and put it in a wooden box. Mine had to be hooked up to a computer so that I could program it and it only had 4 input buttons(you could write a program and get it to do like binary math or something). I always wondered if someone seen it on the street if it was dropped if they would think it was a bomb, small box with a tiny lcd display blinking with wires hanging out(mine had the wires hanging out).

Anyways I think what he did was pretty cool, he took it to a different level. I think alot of people here were just disappointed because it wasn't a laptop that ran any normal OS, the summery was a touch vage or missleading.

Re:Neat (1)

RattFink (93631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237790)

First of all I would like to say that making any sort of embedded device is cool and this is no different. I think the source of a lot of people's snide comments and such toward this is that people were quite underwhelmed with the product. There are two reasons for this. People denote a laptop as some form of a PC so there would be the expectation that this would have similar functionality. Second this is Slashdot, typically projects worthy of being featured on this site typically are especially ingenious, clever or imaginative. Cool or not what this is is a 1st or 2nd year EEng project.

And for the record I have designed many systems based on PIC micros. I even designed my bench top automation system using them and a dallas semi 8052. They are so cheap and have such great tools, every programmer should at least play around with them once.

DYI Laptop (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237292)

It would be just as easy to use a FPGA with a SoC on it and get something more powerful ( and useful ). Its also pretty easy to make a case out of *gasp* plastic, instead of wood.

Large VGA screens are obtainable on the hobbiest market.

But hey, he looks like he was bored and wanted to do something from scratch.. more power to him.

96 Bytes (1)

shdwtek (898320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237302)

96 bytes should be enough for anybody!

Re:96 Bytes (2, Funny)

corychristison (951993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237620)

96 bytes should be enough for anybody!
Bytes!? Are you crazy! Real men use bits.
96 bits should be enough for anybody!

Sorry (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237306)

I'm sorry but it won't run Windows Vista because it doesn't have the mouse.

It's not the looks (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237382)

I don't care for the looks but I think the project as a whole is quite impressive, to get the essential bits to work together and roll your own software is quite a rare project!

Keep it up!

Good job (2, Informative)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237392)

Seems like afrotech has some serious competition
http://www.afrotechmods.com/ [afrotechmods.com]

he's way advanced (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237404)

Geez, 96 bytes of RAM? Who would ever need more than 64 for anything?

I notice you have the ability to actively work in 4 text documents at once. I'm sure you'll be hearing from Microsoft's attorneys shortly.

Kidding aside, that's really an amazing accomplishment: congratulations!

forum material (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237440)

-User Memory: 96 Bytes of RAM (with plans to upgrade to 8K later)

One could spend the whole afternoon picking each line of that page and making sarcastic comments.

Re:forum material (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238320)

Or one could spend alot more time trying to make it better rather than picking it apart. Destroying something is so much easier than building something and the trolls should shut the fuck up.

Yes! But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237490)

...does it run Linux? :(

Re:Yes! But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237658)

No, just netBSD.

More powerful / practical (device just as easy) (1)

mrnick (108356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237502)

With just a little bit bigger budget one could build something that more approximated a real laptop.

There are plenty of 32 bit MCU (Microcontroller unit) with ALU (Arithmetic logic unit) that have a lot of bonus features built on the chip like: Ethernet, USB, LCD, etc.

Though, you also get some things you would not get with a general laptop like GP IO pins, pins that could detect if a device was on or not, these same pins could be used to activate/deactivate devices as well. Most would have several AD/DA (analog to digital and digital to analog conversion).

I have thought about putting something like this together but I wouldn't make it a laptop I would instead go for a hand held device. A portable data acquisition device.

Either way why reinvent the wheel there are plenty of embedded OS out there. I would go with an embedded Linux then development would be a breeze with a SSH daemon and GCC installed.

Put in a bluetooth chip, Edge, GMS/GPRS RF, and a touchscreen and I'll destroy iPhone *lol*...

Anyone out there that can program a GUI?? (please don't say X11 as IMHO it is why there are no good GUI on UNIX, except OS X (not X11 based)). -- forget this, it is a RANT all of it's own.

Anyways, it looks like his project was a lot of fun.. though with a little thought and bigger budget one could produce a much more powerful / practical device.

The real question... (1)

cciRRus (889392) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237512)

Does it run Linux From Scratch [linuxfromscratch.org] ?

8086 emmulator (1)

mgpandey (1049836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237538)

you can get 8086 emulator cheaper compared to that and it too will be able to run 'hello world' program

But does it run Windows VISTA???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237542)

yet alone any version of Linux???????

finally some diy's (1)

losec (642631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237550)

more of this..

How is the wetware-diy scene doing ?

Cute. Now, lemme see ya get it onto a plane. (0)

karlandtanya (601084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18237766)

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tuBgi8l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237938)

that supports minutes now while BE NIIGER! BE GAY! development model

Emulator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18237968)

I wonder if someone could write an emulator for this machine!

Don't try taking it on a plane! (1)

RPGonAS400 (956583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238062)

See what happens if you have to go through some security checkpoint. You can make as much news as the LED advertisements around Boston and other cities! It looks more sinister than they did.

Retro != Progress (1)

macz (797860) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238216)

At first, the idea was interesting. Then I read the details and capabilities of the device and it struck me as a huge waste of time. Buy a PSP, it is smaller, more powerful, and undoubted cheaper. That it is not as customizable (the only feature the article's system had in abundance) is more than made up for by the fact that it can be hacked, and is an order of magnitude more powerful than this post apocalyptic future version of the Osborne.

XBOX 360 Laptop (1)

russmeyer (1071974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238242)

I don't have a 360 and don't plan to, but if I would buy the 360 laptop [benheck.com] this guy created.

nice but... (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238272)

I can't help but wonder what the guy's motivation is to spend time developing something the size of an attache case with about the same processing power as a pocket calculator.

what does it run ... (0, Redundant)

sarathmenon (751376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18238478)

does it run linux?
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