High School Grad Builds 8-Bit Computer from Scratch
Age doesn't matter in the world of programming, only skills, and recent high school grad Jack Eisenmann definitely has them. He recently built a homebrew 8-bit computer from scratch, calling it the DUO Adept. A worn television makes up the monitor and speaker system, an old keyboard acts as the input controller and the actual computer itself is housed inside a clear Rubbermaid container, consisting of 100 TTL chips and a ton of wire.
The future A-list programmer started the project last summer by first diagramming every wire and connection, then wiring up the GPU that generates composite video using TTL only, and finally creating the CPU, which executes a unique code.
After fully constructed, he had to program it for interaction, so he created his own operating system (Duo OS) and hex editor. Then, he designed some homebrew programs, including some fun looking games like Get Muffins, Conway's Game of Life and a rendition of Pong that takes you back to the good old days of the Commodore VIC-20s three decades ago.
The computer has 64K of total memory, with 6K dedicated video RAM for outputting a 240 by 208 black and white image on the monitor.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Eisenmann's homebrew 8-bit project is the fact that he's had no formal education in electronics, but instead learned from "Google, other YouTube users, personal experimentation, and of course the datasheets for each chip."
To see more of Jack's 8-bit computer, check out his YouTube videos documenting the construction and demonstration of his Duo Adept, and make sure to visit his website for the schematics, code, further details and more pics.