A few years ago I saw project WICHTIG on mosfetkiller.de which is essentially a very simple version of CalcHack. It was made for the TI Voyage 200, and would only allow sending texts using a small TI-Basic program. I liked it, but at that time I only heard of graphical calculators, but never seen or used them, so it was just another nice website to look at for me.
About 15 months ago I was first introduced to graphical calculators. At first I was impressed with it, but then I started to realize that projects I did at that time were - from a speed point of view very superior, which kind of made the platform lame in my opinion, still, I kept it in mind. After summer holidays (exactly 1 year ago) when I changed school I had my second contact with TI calculators, but this time it was that our teacher told us we were going to get them in half a year. This is when I knew, I`m going to use this calculators for at least a few years, so I wanted to make the best out of it.
I hated these 6 months, because I had no hardware (calculator) yet, but got more Ideas what I could do with it all the time. I asked colleagues what they thought of chats and 3D-Engines in calculators, and because everybody liked the idea I was sure I was going to develop at least a wireless messenger once we get them. Also, I broke a friends TI-30 in the desperate attempt to hack it to at least play reaction type of games (TI-30 is completely ASIC which only leaves eavesdropping on control lines, which kind of worked until it fell of my table and broke).
When I finally got my own TI-82 STATS, about 6 months from the initial Idea many things have changed, most obvious one being me switching from AVR to ARM (STM32). This made building on WICHTIG hard, so I decided to start from scratch.
I worked from time to time on CalcHack and added any feature I could. In fact I perhaps worked on it 2-3 times per week, but it was just when I was writing core linkport code for CalcHack when I felt like browsing youtube. As I got there, I saw that just 20 minutes ago Dave Jones (EEVBlog) uploaded a video on the Hackaday Prize. I then saw, that my project fit perfectly and decided to take part.
My thanks go to:
- Dave Jones for giving me the right information just when I needed it (a contest I think, is also a great motivation)
- Paul Wilhelm at mosfetkiller.de for showing me it`s possible, and oven though our solutions couldn`t be more different it inspired me. I also stole about 20 very elegant lines of code from him ;)