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A project log for Think-a-Tron 2020

In 1960 Hasbro unleashed its first personal "computer" to the masses, decades before IMSAI, Apple, or Commodore. Remembering Think-a-Tron.

Michael GardiMichael Gardi 01/28/2021 at 16:140 Comments

The hardware and software are finished and there is now an easy way to create trivia cards. Here is a video of Think-a-Tron 2020 in action.

Users read the trivia question from a card and "lock-in" their answers via the labeled push buttons. The card is then placed into the slot and the ? button pressed to tell Think-a-Tron to determine the correct answer. After a little thinking time (revealing the "man in the machine") the correct answer choice is displayed on the 5x7 pixel display and the players scores are updated. The answer selection buttons will turn green for a correct choice and red for a wrong pick. Pressing the ? again will reset Think-a-Tron for the next question. Pressing and holding the ? button for more than 5 seconds will reset the scores to 0.

When I look back at my goals for this project I think that I have accomplished at least two of the three.

  1. I want to build something that is clearly a Think-a-Tron derivative. I'll let you be the judge, but I THINK there is a pretty good resemblance. 
  2. I would like to maintain the 60's mainframe vibe of the original.  I don't think I nailed this one. Think-a-Tron 2020 doesn't scream 60's computer to me. Mind you I'm not unhappy with the look. I get a more 60's alien sci-fi computer vibe. I'm OK with this.

  3. Have some fun along the way. You'll have to take my word for this one, but putting Think-a-Tron 2020 together was a blast.

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