is the definitive £20
DIY computer! It works like an 8-bit home Micro: outputting to
composite video and ready to be interactively programmed from the moment
you switch it on. FUZE
now has bitmapped graphics; sprites, sound and audio
saving/loading as well as 8Kb of RAM; 384Kb of storage; an 8-key keypad
and runs a variant of FIG-Forth
. It uses USB for power; firmware upgrades and program downloads.
News: 11/07/2014. FIGnition Has Reached the 1.0.0 Milestone!
FIGnition FUZE features:
Headers (except that the second set of headers are both spaced 0.2"
from the first making them Stripboard compatible too).
- Audio-Mod built-in :-)
- 2mm screw holes on 3 corners so you can attach FIGnition properly to some kind of base!
- A proper ground plane; partial 3v6 plane and wider 5v tracks for much better signal integrity!
- Shorter connections between Flash, SRAM and U1.
- Same board area (slightly wider, but slightly shorter), so that Arduino-sized shields can be fitted.
FIGnition FUZE is easy to make - connections are always at least 0.1" apart and
there's easy access to ICs for when you need to lever them out!
What's It For?
FIGnition is a simple, educational computer, but a real one, not an emulator. It has real firmware, real RAM, really generates a display and really has storage for when you turn the machine off. I imagine you'd be interested in FIGnition if:
- You've always wanted to build a computer from scratch!
- You enjoyed playing with your old home micro as a kid and want to pass that simple joy to your own children without having to buy or risk wreaking a flaky vintage machine.
- You want to learn to program: FIGnition is simple to program and boots into its programming environment in <1 second.
- You're a teacher and you want to run an computer studies workshop for GCSE or 'A' students to enable them to discover what computers in essence are, beneath the many layers of software accreted from decades of development on modern machines. Ask about FIGnition at Computing At School.
- You want to contribute to the open hardware movement - FIGnition is Open Source Hardware (OSH) compliant.
How many more reasons could you need ;-) ?
What and How Does It Work?
FIGnition comes as a kit including a pre-fabricated PCB and all the components in bags. When assembled it looks like the picture on the right:
Fignition connects to a PAL or NTSC TV display to generate a 25x24 screen image or a 160x160 bitmapped image:
Programs can be entered and run via its editor (click on the second image to download the mp4 video - it's moving 40 graphic chars around completely in Forth):
What Can It Do?
As of 11/07/2014, FIGnition has reached the 1.0.0 Milestone, which means it now does pretty much everything it was designed to. The major features are now:
- A Forth interpreter running at up to 400KIPs, 12x to 30x faster than a Jupiter running Forth, approx 8-bit machine code speeds, see Benchtests.
- New: Audio loading/saving for source code (data and upgrades) between FIGnition's RAM or external Flash and a desktop computer.
- New: Floating-point arithmetic support at nearly 15KFlops (about 20 to 30 times faster than an 80s 8-bit computer).
- External Flash operates as a fully re-usable Flash disk.
- Supports text mode with 16 user-defined graphics and 160x160 true bitmapped video with a high-speed blitter.
- Has over 200 commands providing full access to the compiler, editor, flash, eeprom, interrupts, audio in/out, spi, I/O ports, I2C, strings, maths, floating-point arithmetic and external serial output.
- Multitasking support via user (Forth) interrupts and atomic I/O commands.
- NTSC and PAL support and since late December 2011 and steady LCD TV support.
- Has a growing library of programs for games; graphics and control.
- Substantial documentation: a clear assembly guide, tutorials, new user manuals, hardware design manual.
- A ragged line editor for command lines and editing up to 6Kb of text in external flash (with command completion).
- Works directly with the FIGkeys PS/2 interface.
- Zero-overhead Break key checking and Stack checking.
- Can support a step debugger written in Forth itself!
Right now, the latest firmware is being tested on the FIGnition Google Site
and will be posted here in the near future. In the meantime, here's a video of FIGnition 1.0.0 generating a Lorenz Attractor in its high resolution graphics mode: