We’ve touched on this area before with the software layout and planning post but a lot has happened since then. This includes a GitHub repository where the latest version of our code can be found here. If you fancy having a read through it and reckon you have spotted any problems or know a better way of doing things then let us know and we’ll look into what you’ve spotted.
Work in progress system class diagram
For the most part it is structured just like the diagram suggests we had it planned. A cool feature of the project is that the code is portable to other platforms, with just a simple rewrite of the lowest level classes – I2C and Quick2Wire. This means that you could implement the TwitALU on completely different hardware – for instance on the BeagleBone Black or even an ARM based mobile phone.
That’s right everyone, after a few weeks of tense waiting and software writing the first version of the PCBs have finally arrived so let’s have a peek inside the box.
“I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it…”
Here we go everyone, as promised, a video of the prototype system working from start to finish! I can recommend viewing it in HD at full screen with a bit of volume for effect. Obviously theres still the final system to create but this is the big turning point in functionality. Let us know what you think in the comments here or on YouTube we’re interested to know what you think of the system as much as the video at this stage.
That’s right It’s finally happened everyone, at 3:31pm on the 23rd July 2013 the following exchange took place on Twitter between myself and the TwitALU system!
The first command and response processed by the prototype ALU hardware
Musical references aside my time has, since building as much of the actual system on breadboard as was needed and ordering PCBs, been spent mostly on finding a suitable Python 3 compatible Twitter library and getting it to work.
Job number 1 was finding one I liked the look of. Truth be told, this extended as far as some Googling and finding a list of popular libraries. Then choosing one that was actively maintained, worked with Python 3 and introduced the least interfering with data between me and the actual Twitter REST API 1.1.
We thought it was about time you saw the breadboard monster that we’ve been developing with until the PCBs arrive and here she is! It’s only a mostly functional version of the registers and the adder function but it’s allowed us to make sure all of the most important functions work for now.
- A basic functional prototype of the registers and adder hardware
Ok, so we know we’ve been quiet for a little while now but that’s only because we’ve made epic progress.
Last we said was that we’d laid out the PCBs ready for ordering them. Well, we have ordered them but it all underwent a full re-work and re-plan before submitting the orders finally because we learnt a few important things.
V0.1 of the TwitALU PCB layout