Ben Heck’s DIY graphing calculator

Ben Heck’s got another terrific build: a DIY graphing calculator built with a Raspberry Pi Compute Module (and later an A+).

No schematics yet, but if Ben does release them we’ll add a link here. Frankly, this is one of those projects that’s just so daft and so much fun to watch coming together (especially when things go wrong), that we suspect you won’t really mind that you can’t duplicate it at home (yet)…we hope you’ll feel the same.

 

17 comments

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Cool

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He ends up using a model A+ not a compute module.

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I know; forgot to mention it. Helen just mailed to remind me to update it too – you’ll notice it’s changed now!

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Did anyone else notice the little caption for this blog post on the home page? It reads “5318008.” Put that in a calculator and turn it upside down, and you see a hidden message! XD

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That’s a really nice project.
Such a Pi-calculator could put the potential of Mathematica in the palm of your hand!

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This demostrates that the compute module is a hard nut to crack, it’s a neat piece of hardware but the design phase can be a challenge, I really to want play with this module :D

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From the clip it appears that he had the footprint for the screen socket wrong, it had solder mask over the pads, he should have notice it while looking at the gerbers, before ordering the PCBs.
Such things happen, specially in rushed projects, Murphy’s law and all.
This is not a compute module problem, and would be easy to fix, but it would require them to wait for new boards to arrive.

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Get this puppy on kickstarter, who wouldn’t want a truly programmable calculator?

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That’s the best invention and a nice project. Hopes this calculator will solve many problems for a mathematician. Thanks a lot for this precious gift to us..

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It should be interfaced with the wolfram language!! It will be one of the best calculators.

Some work on the input style may be required.

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Great,

I needed theses days a calculator and thought to build me one with a Pi2 and Mathematica. But I needed one to solve my problems and not to generate more work. So I ordered me one, which shall be delivered today.

A mathematica device with a pocket caculator HCI will be nice. If you can sell it as a kit, wolfram may earn a few Euros and may allow commercial usage as well.

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In the United States children are not allowed to use devices that have certain functionality on the SAT college entrance exam. From

https://sat.collegeboard.org/register/calculator-policy

the list of unacceptable calculators reads

Laptops or other computers, tablets, cell phones, or smartphones

Models that can access the Internet, have wireless, Bluetooth, cellular, audio/video recording and playing, camera, or any other smart phone type feature

Models that have typewriter-like keypad, pen-input, or stylus

Models that use electrical outlets, make noise, or have a paper tape

Calculator function on a mobile phone

In addition, the use of hardware peripherals such as a stylus with an approved calculator is not permitted. Some models with touch-screen capability are not permitted (e.g., Casio ClassPad). Check the list of acceptable calculators for models that are permitted.

I wonder whether a homemade calculator like the one Ben made would be allowed?

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No. They need to be certified. Even if someone is willing to pay for this, there will be no solution that prevents the pupils to use a different software on it. So I would not certify such a device.

But there not only students need a good calculator. My new HP Prime seems to be really good compared to what I was used to in the 80s/90s. But you run into all the modern problems.
– The software has a lot of bugs.
– The certified keyboard layout is a pain in the ass
– A chatty imperative language on a calculator?
If they would have implemented a simple functional language like Miranda mixed with their good formula rendering system, used a better display, allowed external keyboards and this device is AWESOME for workplaces where you are not allowed to install the software you need.

A modular system which is not restricted by the learning market will be really nice. Based on the SoC of the Pi2 will it be the most powerfull system on the market. We need a calculator combat for students like all these robotic events ;-)

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Much work done in this (abandoned) project : http://www.librecalc.com/

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I wonder if that kind of keyboard (connected to the GPIO instead of standard USB) can be made to work in BBC Basic / RiscOS?

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No reason why not.

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Very useful project, but without a ti (tiemu), hp-emulator or xCAS port =(
The idea is to continue this user-calc, install a numerical and symbolic engine, or at least one hp-ti emulator

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