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: The FIGkeys 1.1 PS/2 keyboard interface is available NOW!
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!
Note: the audio mod
works for Audio IN as well as audio out. It means we'll be able to
provide not only audio bootloading, but loading and saving of entire
Forth programs to and from RAM or Flash - an amazing improvement! I've
tested it on a rudimentary audio bootloader (also featured on Hackaday), to prove it can work and a
proper bootloader is coming soon!
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?
FIGnition has come a long way since late April 2011. As well as supporting a rock-steady display; program entry via its keypad and the built-in editor; flash storage and access to the internal AVR registers, video RAM and system clock, FIGnition now also:
- Has been performance
tested: thanks to its new Forth interpreter written in AVR assembler
it's now 6x to 20x faster than a Jupiter Ace; seriously faster than any
80s 8-bit micro when running Forth, in fact it runs Forth at near native
- Supports 16 User-definable RAM-based graphic characters (UDGs).
- Has a fully reusable open-sourced Flash chip driver.
- Can recursively load blocks from Flash.
- Has numerous built-in functions for plotting points; forgetting words; vlisting the dictionary; accessing the Flash storage; accessing the data and return stack pointers; accessing FIGnition's system variables; incrementing and decrementing (via 1+ and 1-) controlling spi, and providing atomic access to ports.
- Has bug fixes for the relatively few encountered bugs, e.g. a bug with displaying negative numbers and with correct loop handling.
- Has a growing library of programs for games; graphics and control.
- Has substantial documentation covering initial Forth tutorials, and its built-in definitions.
- A really clear assembly guide, and YouTube videos of people actually building FIGnition.
- A step debugger written in Forth itself!
- NTSC and PAL support and since late December steady PAL video on LCDs!
- Supports a Graphics Video Mode at 160x160 resolution!
- Ragged-Line editor for editing source code from flash, entering command lines.
- New: Revision 0.9.8 supports a high-performance blitter; uniform string handling across the system (with string commands too); command completion in the editor; built-in integer and byte array support; direct hexadecimal entry; pause and a few other niceties!
FIGnition is a capable 80s-esque micro and in the near future will become more capable with: audio load/save; and floating point arithmetic. And you'll be able to download it from this page and then upload via USB (and soon audio) to FIGnition. The latest firmware is provided at the bottom of this page and the current state of development can be found here
How To Order
All the details for buying FIGnition can now be found here