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HP Hardware Hacking Build Hardware

HP Releases Hackable ARM-Based Calculator 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the turning-tools-to-toys dept.
mikeselectricstuff writes "HP's 20b business consultant calculator isn't the sort of thing that would normally interest the average Slashdotter, but HP has released a Devkit for it, including schematics and source for a sample application, and they appear to be actively encouraging people to re-purpose it. Maybe the engineers thought a business calculator was just too boring for their hardware? The calculator is based on an Atmel ARM chip, and it has a bootloader and JTAG interface to allow user applications to be written and downloaded, turning a boring calculator into anything you can do within the constraints of the hardware."
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HP Releases Hackable ARM-Based Calculator

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  • HP calculators (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chrysalis (50680) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @12:30PM (#24626989) Homepage

    HP calculators have always been hackable. The 48 S/SX/G/GX calculators had a large and active scene. I spent countless hours coding on it. The Saturn processor was very nice to code on.

  • Password-Pad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2008 @12:30PM (#24626991)

    Might be nice to use it as an password-pad
    and still have an RPN calculator at the same time.

  • Why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by WillKemp (1338605) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @12:35PM (#24627039) Homepage
    I can't see the point of it really. 20 years ago it would have been fantastic. 10 years ago it would have been newsworthy. 5 years ago it might have been vaguely interesting. But now everyone's got laptops and smartphones, what's a fancy calculator going to do that they can't?
  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tacvek (948259) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @01:15PM (#24627303) Journal

    Any Windows mobile phone can easily be programmed for using the SDK. This does require Visual Studio or some ticks to use the free platform SDK, but most windows developers will already have Visual Studio.

    Once one has the Windows Mobile SDK, one can compile and install applications with absolutely no difficulty. (Almost no providers choose to required signed apps on Windows Mobile phones, and even when they do, the end user can disable that with slight difficulty.)

  • Embedded Hardware (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lm317t (971782) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @01:27PM (#24627375) Homepage
    The L series is a typical AT91SAM7 32bit chip that should work with the usual openocd toolset [sparkfun.com]. It does not look like HP is using an RTOS like FreeRTOS [freertos.org] which, among other things, has a udp/tcp/ip stack that I like to use on the AT91SAM7X series which contain an embedded MAC (no apple fanbois, thats a Medium Access Controller). The code is using IAR compilers :( so you can't just dive in to using the Gnu arm toolchain [gnuarm.org] without some serious homework 1st creating a makefile and tweeking various files.

    The engineers did populate the connectors for the JTAG and provide unpopulated pads for ADC, PWM, SPI, and basic digital I/O, so I would say that anyone looking to get started in embedded electronics could start here, they'd just be locked into using IAR. Also a display is awesome for providing a UI, something most embedded dev kits lack!

    Thanks HP, it really is nice that you guys considered the hacker community as customers.
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @01:32PM (#24627415)
    You must have an iPhone. On every other platform (Windows Mobile, Palm, S60, and BlackBerry) you can easily write and deploy your own code.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cplusplus (782679) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @01:58PM (#24627579) Journal
    It took me about 6 minutes to create a "Hello World" app and deploy it to my Windows Mobile Smartphone, then run it. And it doesn't take a lot of money, either. Go google "Dev Studio Express" and you can find a lite version of Microsoft's Developer Studio, and you can also download the different Windows Mobile SDKs if you look around.
  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @02:05PM (#24627633) Journal

    i did enjoy working as an assembler programmer back in the days of the first home computers

    That's exactly the kind of enjoyment I had in mind. Just to be able to get one pixel on that LCD screen to blink would provide me with some fun. Call me nostalgic, I don't mind; coding close to the HW has always been my passion, ever since the 80's.

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @02:25PM (#24627791)

    Of course most customers will use this as is. I'm thankful that HP isn't so paranoid of what their niche customers might do. The right of people to tweak products to suit their needs is a right that needs to be preserved.

    Considering HP has made available the code to a number of their calculators to allow emulators to run on various platforms, such as WinCE and PalmOS; they're pretty good at taking care of their customers and trusting them.

    Their calculator division, at least, has always truck me as a group run by engineers and people who understand technology as well as how to make it into useful tools.

    I still have my HP-45; and it still runs. The only problem I ever had was trying to use it on a submarine when we rigged for red.

  • by DeathOverlord3 (645635) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @03:51PM (#24628411)
    To me, the most interesting aspect of the dev kit is that the HP calculator group did not even have the engineering resources available internally to draw that simple little schematic and instead outsourced the hardware design to the Taiwanese design and manufacturing house Inventec. Pretty sad that HP - once a premier engineering company - does not even design their own hardware anymore. I also like how they created the pdf version of the schematic with a trial version of some pdf writer.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @03:53PM (#24628425) Journal
    It's pretty common now in the UK. When I was at school, you were allowed programmable graphical calculators as long as you reset them and wiped their memory. I wrote a little app for mine and showed it to the teacher that simulated wiping the memory (same UI in every way - it even included a version of the program list and a few other things that simply showed no programs (I had no way of backing it up, so I lost it when I really did reset mine for an exam). Between things like this, and the fact that most include a backup battery so they don't lose data when you pull out the batteries, it's often easier to just have the school provide calculators. Although, to be honest, it would be better if they'd focus instead on designing exams where they aren't testing the sort of thing where taking in notes would give you an advantage.

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