Author Topic: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\  (Read 15990 times)

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Offline Lancelot_du_lac

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[new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« on: October 30, 2012, 06:17:05 pm »
Hello evrybody,

Let me introduce myself, i'm a french student,
in my 4th year of engineer in electronics, micro-electronics, & robotics.

I'm 28 ( yeah i know i'm old because i re-started my studies ^^ ).

I know how hard can be this kind of project, so it's not usefull to say,<< it's too hard stop & let ti and casio rape our wallets  *.* >>

I estimate this to a 2-3 years project.

-Hardware : I've found a board near the one i'll design. So i can make it even cheaper, and we can have prototype board for 89$
-Software : hardware is running LINUX ( DEBIAN DISTRIB ) so it's easy to write code in C++. I know there is Xcas, but i want do something different. ( i'll explain for people involved ), and IDE will be QT !!!
-Case & Battery : It's to early to think about that, but it's know to be difficult to do a good design, and get a low power consumption

I started this project 2 weeks ago on tiplanet : http://tiplanet.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=10640 ( in french ).

I thought to doing it for 2 years now.
Now, it's time because i have the skills to do the hardware. ( I've made my first analog integrated circuit 3 months ago ).



So want i really need ?

-C++ coders.
-Math Teachers
-Designers.
-hardware experts, could be usefull too.
-website designer
-evrything else that could be usefull.


So the main advantage of this Calc, will be : C++ coding and near ASM speed. Access to all build in math libs.

I'm thinking to do multiple hardware with multiple cost. The first one, will be the cheap one. I think to do a ultimate product too after,
with same software.


---------------------------
A litle FAQ :
Q: Does i need to send money or something ?
A: Just use your skill with your keyboard that's enough.

Q: It's nice, how i can invest myself ?
A: Start to send an answer to that thread here and write your skills ( all skill you can offer, even it's not asked ).

Q: It's wonderfull, but i don't know anything of design, or C++ coding, What can i do ?
A: There is easy start of C++ on the web, and there is other stuff to do, so write your skill, ... in worst case you can order chinese food. ( we have a pizza french man  :angel:)

Q: Will i see any benefit of my work ?
A: For moment i'm thinking to use creative commons licence for source. There is no doubt there will be prototypes. So evryone involved will get an access to get a prototype for the build cost. And if the calc sell well i'll see to share any benefit, don't know how, it's too early to say.
------------------------------------

I also expect all your feeling about my project.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 06:22:22 pm by Lancelot_du_lac »

Offline ben_g

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2012, 06:55:21 pm »
This sounds like an interesting project, but unfortunately all of the previous similar projects have died.

Do you already know how it might look like and what hardware it will have? If you want low power consumption and still want to make it powerfull, you should consider using 2 CPU's: a cheap, slow one that uses almost no power (z80?) to do some basic stuff, and a more powerfull one that can be turned on or of trough software too use for gaming or as a speed boost for advanced math.
For the LCD, the most battery-efficient ones are simple B&W screens, but color LCD screens with no backlight or a backlight that can be turned off gets good efficiency as well. Just make sure it has a good reflector so you can still see when the backlight is tured on. And don't use a touch screen when it isn't nessicary. Calculators can be smashed around quite a lot when they are in a back pack, and touch screens are often made of very tin glass that breaks easly. For the rest, you can add some other nice hardware such as USB ports, wifi, ...,  and if you make sure you can turn them on and off trough software, it shouldn't consume the battery too much.
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Offline _Nicco_

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2012, 07:08:06 pm »
This sounds like a great project!

I know that others have tried to build a calculator but you seem to actually have the skills to do so.

Q: It's wonderfull, but i don't know anything of design, or C++ coding, What can i do ?

A: There is easy start of C++ on the web, and there is other stuff to do, so write your skill, ... in worst case you can order chinese food. ( we have a pizza french man  :angel:)

I think I'm apart of this category. :P I'm learning Java in school and C on my own.  If you ever want to get a JVM onto that calculator I might be able to help.  I'm trying to learn about the JVM right now.
C++ shouldn't be too hard to learn after I get C since its based off of C.
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Offline Rhombicuboctahedron

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 08:03:51 pm »
This sounds cool
Quote
Q: It's nice, how i can invest myself ?
A: Start to send an answer to that thread here and write your skills ( all skill you can offer, even it's not asked ).
I can program Lua and BASIC, and a little c++, but mostly i think i could help with any math you need.

Oh yeah, and someone needs to get you some peanuts, or potatoes
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 08:05:58 pm by Rhombicuboctahedron »

Offline Vijfhoek

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2012, 08:07:04 pm »
I'm sure my math teacher won't even doubt if I asked him for help.

Offline Lancelot_du_lac

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2012, 02:08:18 am »
This sounds like an interesting project, but unfortunately all of the previous similar projects have died.

I'll not give up.  :evillaugh:

Quote
Do you already know how it might look like and what hardware it will have? If you want low power consumption and still want to make it powerfull, you should consider using 2 CPU's: a cheap, slow one that uses almost no power (z80?) to do some basic stuff, and a more powerfull one that can be turned on or of trough software too use for gaming or as a speed boost for advanced math.

The hardware that can be used to dev :
http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/board-detail.php?tab=options&product=TS-7550#

my board will be really close too.
It's not really needed to buy, because we can write the LCD lib easyly even late.
The math engine will run linux under console. So run it with standart input from a file, to a file
to get the work done. After you can do a gui on ubuntu to test the engine  XD

Quote
For the LCD, the most battery-efficient ones are simple B&W screens, but color LCD screens with no backlight or a backlight that can be turned off gets good efficiency as well. Just make sure it has a good reflector so you can still see when the backlight is tured on. And don't use a touch screen when it isn't nessicary. Calculators can be smashed around quite a lot when they are in a back pack, and touch screens are often made of very tin glass that breaks easly. For the rest, you can add some other nice hardware such as USB ports, wifi, ...,  and if you make sure you can turn them on and off trough software, it shouldn't consume the battery too much.

USB 2.0 is included in the hardware. I aim for the ultimate hardware capacitive touch screen with glass. but maybe won't get alive. i would love too see that baby.

This sounds like a great project!

Thank You for your interest

Quote
I know that others have tried to build a calculator but you seem to actually have the skills to do so.

I can a non cas alone i think.

Quote
I think I'm apart of this category. :P I'm learning Java in school and C on my own.  If you ever want to get a JVM onto that calculator I might be able to help.  I'm trying to learn about the JVM right now.
C++ shouldn't be too hard to learn after I get C since its based off of C.

It's linux OS, java will be embded. And it's an Debian like. Almost packet can be installed with "apt-get install"
But to be faster the code will be in C++.

There is a lot of doc on internet. And it's a 2-3 years project. You have time to catch up, if you want your litle piece of code inside ;).

There is one task i've didn't talk before,

It's Gui design. The Math app won't be in console. So drawing concept screens would be usefull too.

Offline Matrefeytontias

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2012, 03:38:57 am »
I think I'm good enough with C++ to help in some way :) but I won't help in maths (or really a little bit) since I'm in highschool (en première en fait ;) ). And I'm pretty good with Qt :thumbsup:
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 03:39:56 am by Matrefeytontias »

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2012, 03:41:47 am »
Seems like a nice project, but seriously good luck lol. Some people got a lot of skills to do that, but for odd reasons they lose interest after a year or they just become so busy that it eventually die. I would like if one day such project came to fruition.
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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2012, 10:46:32 pm »
Hello Lancelot_du_lac. Welcome here. You may also want to post about your project on <a href=http://www.cemetech.net>Cemetech</a>. They tend to be a bit more hardware oriented, and the site owner (Kerm Martin) majored in EE. :)
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 10:46:50 pm by Art_of_camelot »

Offline ruler501

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2012, 11:12:34 pm »
You might want a lighter OS though I do like debian it is heavier then I'd want on a calculator. I'd be glad to help on these projects if you can set up a QEMU instance for me to work with. ARe you going to try to make this SAT compatible? You have to do that to get real adoption of it in schools. Especially with debian you'd want more RAM to run much. The best thing would probably be a custom linux distro. With your specs it cannot run most packages for debian but you could build and set up a package system(I'd say see sabayon/gentoo for good ways to do that) that people could download(I think an msi like format that installs itself would be best). Also for batteries you are going to want at least 2 days of active use to make it usable. That would be a 19200mAh battery. This is a great idea but you might want to work through it a little more.
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Offline Rhombicuboctahedron

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2012, 11:20:26 pm »
Oh, and if you make a rechargeable battery, please allow it to be removable.
I ripped my nspire battery wire trying to take the battery out.

Offline Lancelot_du_lac

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2012, 08:55:35 am »
You might want a lighter OS though I do like debian it is heavier then I'd want on a calculator. I'd be glad to help on these projects if you can set up a QEMU instance for me to work with. ARe you going to try to make this SAT compatible? You have to do that to get real adoption of it in schools. Especially with debian you'd want more RAM to run much. The best thing would probably be a custom linux distro. With your specs it cannot run most packages for debian but you could build and set up a package system(I'd say see sabayon/gentoo for good ways to do that) that people could download(I think an msi like format that installs itself would be best). Also for batteries you are going to want at least 2 days of active use to make it usable. That would be a 19200mAh battery. This is a great idea but you might want to work through it a little more.

It's a lighter Distro of linux based on debian. It's sold with the CPU. I've checked that.

You'll not able to run all packages, that's sure. But the aim of this project is to do the most compatibility.

The thing that i'm only a bit worryed, it the screen driver. I can make a lib to use the screen, but i would like the system to understand
if you don't start anything else that just the os, that it should use the screen I/Os for standart output. ( And not the Hdmi ). So
i've to write a screen driver, and i admit not being an expert in linux, just a good user.

That would be far more usefull that the os know there is a screen instead of writing a lib to use the screen in the math gui.

Oh, and if you make a rechargeable battery, please allow it to be removable.
I ripped my nspire battery wire trying to take the battery out.

It's not the hardest thing to too. So, in time we'll see to do it.  :w00t:

Offline Lancelot_du_lac

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2012, 06:16:52 am »
I've found the hardware, that will used.

This board is far better

CPU : ARM9 @ 454Mhz
DDR2 400mhz : 128MB
OS : Linux 2.6
Flash NAND : 256MB

6 lcd screens working with this board. ( working on framebuffer ). ( no more problem with lcd driver )

board' cost : one unit 55€ without tax, 32€ over 5000 units.

We are going to work on this. I'll retro engeneering the board and build even cheaper.

Offline Matrefeytontias

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2012, 06:57:13 am »
So, what will you need on the software side ? Just to make sure that I really can do something :P

Offline Lancelot_du_lac

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Re: [new_calc] New Calc project ... with cas engine /!\
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2012, 07:39:16 am »
Software will be splited in at leat two modules. ( Some others modules that i thought will be added later or optionnal ).

-Math engine
-Gui system.

First, we have to code the math engine.

It's gonna be in shell like this :

$mathenginename "code or math expr to exec" -options
=> output standart "Results".

The math engine writed in a C++ code, and is fully object oriented.

you can redirect input and output standart to files in linux easyly
So Gui will use files or memory to I/O for access to the math engine.

But before evrything, it would be awesome to design a web site for sharing our work, roadmaps, ..., and find other people.

& Coordinate work.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2012, 07:41:44 am by Lancelot_du_lac »