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Micro-SD Card Slot Abused As VGA-Port 77

dvdkhlng writes "The Ben NanoNote open-source hand-held computer has often been criticized for not being very extensible hardware-wise. A community effort now starts to challenge this by shipping the so-called UBB board, which plugs into the micro-SD port, making 6 I/O lines available to hardware hackers. The most impressive use so far is this VGA port implemented by just a few resistors, with signal-generation mostly controlled by software. The guy who did this calls it an 'unexpected capability.' Schematics and source code are available under the GPL."
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Micro-SD Card Slot Abused As VGA-Port

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  • Nice, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by luvirini ( 753157 ) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @09:38AM (#36055994)

    While the GPL part is nice, and hack can be fun, the question still arises why start with such a limited platform in the first place if you have the need for more?

  • Re:Nice, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pvera ( 250260 ) <> on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:02AM (#36056070) Homepage Journal

    Because it opens the possibilities of other "unexpected" hacks that people can't visualize simply by looking at the available ports for a given device (not just the one in the article). If you can plug that thing into the microSD port and make it talk to VGA with 10 resistors and a bit of software, it means you can probably use microSD as a connector on other devices knowing that the connector and board are not only dirt cheap but open.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:17AM (#36056118) Journal

    For one it's fun. It's OK to have fun. If we only do those things that need to have a (serious) reason, we'd never have any fun. You must have gone straight from diapers to curmudgeon, without the usual goofy and fun states.

    For another, this would be great for a low-cost embedded project. I can easily see this being adapted to an embedded playroom I play with.

    Lastly, ti's cool.

  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @10:24AM (#36056144) Journal

    Well the technique was pretty darn common in the 8 bit home computer era. So you are right in that this is not novel, but it shows its still a good method to add video to hardware that the manufacturer maybe never intended to have video out. I think this is a pretty good "News For Nerds" post even if its strictly New(s) that you can do this. I think it might be an interesting technique to apply in things like Rockbox and plug computers, as well.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LongearedBat ( 1665481 ) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @11:50AM (#36056568)

    why the f^@k would anyone even care

    Some of us nerds care 'cos we like playing with tech. And who knows what other interesting things this might lead to, some of which might turn out to be very useful?

  • Abused? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @02:01PM (#36057526)

    Why abused? Re-purposed sounds more accurate.

    I've used a lot of 'ports' for functions not originally envisioned in their design (Rule 34 applications included) and its only abuse if you don't get permission first.

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...