A tiny, wearable, Arduino-powered VT 100 terminal


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/24/sub-pixel-rendering.html


This needs a tiny CRT to be authentic!!


It’s the wrong color.




B R A Z I L era?


You need a separate wireless keyboard to do input

This makes me wonder. There has to be open source speech to text software right? If so i also wonder how accurate can it be when compared to versions by Apple, Amazon, etc.



I’ve heard those are really lousy and i believe it. Think i would prefer a good text to speech or a compact wireless keyboard.


Perhaps the only way to make a guy who spent uncountable hours in front of an actual VT100 feel older is to make a VT100 with characters too tiny for him to read without magnifiers.


Having become long accustomed to being able to resize terminal windows, I still miss the VT100, if only for its second-to-none keyboard. While it didn’t have the clicky action of IBM keyboards, it was solid and non-mushy.

My high school had a few VT100s, but most of the terminals were Visual 200, which were junk with horrid keyboards and crappy CRT circuitry. Needless to say, everyone gravitated to the VT100s. There were also two DECwriters, one LA36 and one LA120. The latter was impressive in its day.

It makes me LOL to think that a $5 Raspberry Pi Zero has vastly more computing power than the PDP-11/34 with two washing-machine-sized 28 MB disks that the terminals talked to (about $130K worth of equipment, IIRC). Makes me think of a quote: “In the future, you’re going to get computers as prizes in breakfast cereals. You’ll throw them out because your house will be littered with them.”


It is good to see that Moore’s law has progressed to the point that Borrowers can have computers of their very own now.




The local discount place has a sale on game-controller-sized wireless keyboards. It works fine with my Pi. There are identical ones with color back-lighting, but that would only be cool if it could controlled from the computer. (e.g. the crypto-security of the communications.) It would need the dongle attached to the Arduino.

(Image is life-sized on my screen.)


I have a 70s Fresnel lens for making your TV screen “bigger”. Carefully balancing it in front of the monitor… Hmm. Obviously the distance needs tweaking, as well as not using white as the window background color.

Those little 128x128 screens are temping. My Palm III screen is the same, only 2"x2", and it did the job.


I’m going to need to get my hands on one to be sure; but it very much looks like an LED-backlit model(note the external ‘bleed’ in the upper right, just at the edge of the magnifying glass); which suggests that(unlike OLED) the color could be changed to Green As The Old Gods Intended.

Probably not enough to simulate the distinctive phosphor remnance; but if one can find an LED of suitable green(or perhaps, if bright enough, one of those little teeny neon glow lamps; that would give a nice, warm, old school glow…)

I have a…totally defensible…need for a few of these; so I’ll have to try that if I can summon the energy to actually undertake the project.


Note that real VT100s had white-phosphor screens rather than green.


Yeah, green (and amber) were later ergonomic things.


Color TFT displays with SPI interface should be anywhere that carries Arduino or Pi stuff at “why not?” prices.

(262k colors, I think.)


Yep. Amber on a black background with low light levels in the room is the most ergonomic computer theme, it reduces eyestrain dramatically.

Black text on white backgrounds is only appropriate to rooms brilliantly over-lit by fluorescent tubes. Everywhere else it’s pretty much like staring into a searchlight.