[IDEA] Portable old-fashioned "microcomputer" via PyBoard?

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[IDEA] Portable old-fashioned "microcomputer" via PyBoard?

Post by sigmoid » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:22 pm


So I thought I'd put this out here, as I haven't seen anything similar yet. By old-fashioned microcomputer, I mean ZX Spectrum, Commodore VIC-II / 64, etc. A general-purpose computer which starts up with a programmer interface, and is user-programmable as its primary function.

I've been thinking about how Python is an awesome spiritual successor to BASIC, and that a portable Python programmable device would be kinda awesome as an everyday calculator / educational tool / sonic screwdriver. I've come to be absolutely reliant on Pythonista on iOS, and now as I'm considering ditching my smartphone, I'm trying to fill the gap left by Pythonista.

(One of the most frequent uses would be my PBKDF2-based password generator that I've come to totally rely on for all my password needs, and means if I drop my iPhone, I'd have to lug an iPad around wherever I go.)

Now I'm considering the Numworks calculator, which is kinda cool and open hardware, but the weird licensing stuff they have going on with their OS is seriously discouraging me... also it doesn't have a full MicroPython implementation out of the box. RPi portable builds seem too powerful for my needs, and too power hungry for the kind of battery life I'd like to see.

So... what I envisioned would be a pocket-size device with an LCD, a QWERTY keyboard, a battery, and some form of file I/O for saved scripts, hopefully over USB.

I understand the Pyboard provides a Python shell through a serial interface. I wonder what it would take to have Python shell and a script editor working via a directly interfaced keyboard and LCD. Did anyone give thought to a project like this? I mean there's a Pyboard game console. ;)

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