Neil's News

Etch A Sketch

31 July 2004

[Computerised Etch a Sketch]Eight years ago I built a computer interface for my Etch A Sketch. Instead of fiddling with the horizontal and vertical knobs, one could drive the stylus with a joystick. It was a good system that worked well. Then a relative did some 'tidying' and I lost the computer, the interface software, the cables and the power supply. The remaining hardware has been brought to Scotland and I've spent the past month resurrecting it. A coworker donated a computer, a fresh Etch A Sketch was obtained through eBay, the original electronics have been reverse-engineered, new software has been written and the missing hardware has been rebuilt.

The project is complete, one can now use a mouse to draw on the Etch A Sketch. Its webpage has been updated with new photos, schematics and source code.

Somewhat to my surprise, this was my first C program (beyond "Hello World" or trivial academic assignments). I'm not quite sure how I managed to avoid it for so long. Yay Borland! Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a decade of programming to catch up on.

Update: It's just been pointed out that on 17 Feb 2000 the Etch A Sketch was the "Link of the Day" at Cool.

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