Author Topic: UberGraphX - Ubercalculator  (Read 35266 times)

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Offline uberspire

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UberGraphX - Ubercalculator
« on: January 24, 2011, 05:44:12 am »
Let me introduce UberGraphX which is an attempt to build a open source graphing calculator that the community will be able collaborate on, one that's truly inspiring and prizm shattering. (Puns intended) In other words, this calculator runs Linux, has massive flash storage, WiFi enabled, a 1GHzMHz ARM Cortex A8 processor with a 16 million color touchscreen LCD display. O.O Complete specs can be found here: http://www.uberspire.com/?page_id=53

I've been working on it and planning it out for a while, funding the project myself. My main impetus for this project is the desire for a calc that's incredibly way more "open" than anything else on the market and by open I mean:

1) Powerful hardware allows more flexibility in what programs can be created
2) Runs Linux, so you have a POSIX compliant operating system which makes it easy to port or create apps if you're familiar with programming on UNIX systems
3) All software packaged on Project Paradise will be open source
4) You can program in Java, Python, C, C++, Lua, BASIC, Assembly, etc.

This means you don't have to depend on any SDK or do any hacking (like Ndless) to get apps running on it, you have complete freedom to run whatever program you want on it.

Here's the current specs of the UberGraphX versus other models: here.

Here are some screenshots of an early prototype of the UberGraphX running with a GUI:

UberGraphX running a Java app and plotting some functions:


UberGraphX on the web:


UberGraphX's desktop (X11 - Angstrom):


You can read and check for the latest updates here on our main site: http://www.uberspire.com/

Status:
April 17, 2011 - We're in the prototyping stages as of right now. Plastic prototypes for the casing should arrive back sometime in mid May. Hardware needs to go over one last check before it gets signed off.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011, 04:46:22 pm by uberspire »

Offline Binder News

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2011, 06:47:27 am »
Wow! I this the first time you are making your own calc/computer? It seems like a pretty big project. But good luck!
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Offline Munchor

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2011, 09:38:54 am »
Woah, you seem to have great expectations ;D Good luck!

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2011, 09:47:08 am »
This is amazing. Best of luck and keep us posted!
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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2011, 06:59:43 pm »
This looks quite nice so far. The only suggestion I have would be to make the bottom bar a bit smaller so the icons won't look pixelated. This is an ambitious project so I hope it works out well. Have you managed to find where to get all the hardware you will need?

Also a suggestion for the OS would be to put an emphasis on maths, such as making all math tools visible first along with programs. That way it is still seen as a calculator rather than just an handheld. That said, if that works out, it would really rule if the price is not too high either, as it could even compete against some tablets/mobile devices and not just calcs.

Also, if you go for a touchpad, make sure it's responsive but not annoying to use like on a laptop. Touchscreen would be ok, or clickpad if a touchscreen is too expensive. Clickpad should really be to the right or left, though, not in the middle like the TI-Nspire.

Good luck!
In case you are wondering where I went, I left Omni back in 2015 to form CodeWalrus due to various reasons explained back then, but I stopped calc dev in 2016 and am now mostly active on the CW Discord server at https://discord.gg/cuZcfcF


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Offline jnesselr

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2011, 07:15:34 pm »
What hardware are you planning to use for this (as a base system)?

I would look at the otcalc project sub-forums.  (Which starts again this summer, hopefully)

Offline uberspire

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2011, 09:31:31 pm »
This looks quite nice so far. The only suggestion I have would be to make the bottom bar a bit smaller so the icons won't look pixelated. This is an ambitious project so I hope it works out well. Have you managed to find where to get all the hardware you will need?
I have a board being manufactured in China right now. I'm waiting for the board to arrive (around the end of January) here so I can start assembling it and soldering all the components. It'll take me a while (a couple of weeks) to solder the board since there are a lot of components and they're really small. I also have a couple of LCD's for experimentation (5" monochrome touchscreen and a 3" color touchscreen)

Also a suggestion for the OS would be to put an emphasis on maths, such as making all math tools visible first along with programs. That way it is still seen as a calculator rather than just an handheld. That said, if that works out, it would really rule if the price is not too high either, as it could even compete against some tablets/mobile devices and not just calcs.
I agree, there needs to be a strong emphasis on math. Instead of having to wrote most of the software ourselves, I was thinking that we can already use free powerful math software available (like Maxima or Octave) and have them be packaged with the calculator/mathematical PDA.

That said, if that works out, it would really rule if the price is not too high either, as it could even compete against some tablets/mobile devices and not just calcs.

Also, if you go for a touchpad, make sure it's responsive but not annoying to use like on a laptop. Touchscreen would be ok, or clickpad if a touchscreen is too expensive. Clickpad should really be to the right or left, though, not in the middle like the TI-Nspire.
Touchscreen would make the project considerably cheaper (device will be more compact, no need to manufacturer keypad and buttons, and less PCB area). In fact, I could probably build the board and case for around $100. But there are already a lot of PDA's like that on the market and in that price range already.

My vision is that this calculator to have the power of a PDA, but in the form a traditional graphing calculator. Touchscreen would also mean that this calculator would be instantly banned from school testing.

What hardware are you planning to use for this (as a base system)?
The hardware is all designed by myself. The calculator uses a ARM9 processor @ 450MHz which has the ARMv5TEJ instruction set. There are versions of Ubuntu (xubuntu) designed to run with that architecture, but I'm pretty sure it'll bog down the processor and is probably complete overkill for a $140 mathematical PDA/uber graphing calculator.

Someone on another forum asked for pictures or drawings of the hardware. I'll be happy to take pictures of the hardware when it's working, but I'm really hesitant releasing schematics. Some Chinese company could rip off the project and make cheap clones, which would then make my time and the money I spent in this project a waste. The closest I'll ever show of the hardware internals is a routed PCB design of my development board:


On the left, this board has a TV output jack. That's just for me to play around with. It's most likely not gonna end up in the final design. The main goals of this board:

1) See if it powers up
2) Boot the kernel
3) If the kernel works, try to test the peripherals (LCD, TV output, audio, USB mini port, SD card, etc.)

After I checked off those things, I'll make revisions to the board and then have another board created. I plan for the hardware to be finalized by this June.

EDIT: And if anyone is wandering where the LCD is connected to on the board, this board is a development board I designed. I have the LCD on a breakout board with 0.1" pin spacings. The LCD is attached to the pin headers on the board.

EDIT:
Wow! I this the first time you are making your own calc/computer? It seems like a pretty big project. But good luck!
I have built some calculators before, but really simple ones just for fun. I'm a second year computer engineer in college and I just thought, even if it doesn't make it to the market, it'll still be an awesome senior project.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 10:08:29 pm by uberspire »

Offline nemo

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2011, 09:50:00 pm »
whoa, this is crazy how far you've gotten. if you need anything written in java/any help in java don't hesitate to ask me i could chip in with some software. this looks amazing, good luck with the rest of it


Offline ruler501

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2011, 10:55:14 pm »
If you need any python code I'll help you out this looks great!. Good Luck
*ruler goes to try to sell idea to chinese companies ^-^
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Offline uberspire

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2011, 06:34:18 pm »
Thanks, any programming help would be grateful.

I just got an email today about an inventions contest being held by my university and the timing couldn't be any better. I don't know if it's plain chance or faith, but this is probably the big break that Project Paradise needs that will enable it to be pushed into a real product that will compete against TI, Casio and HP. The judges are investors looking for good commercial ideas and I believe this project has a good chance at winning this contest (or at least a spot, so my project can receive some funding) just as long as I can show that this project makes business sense. They want a working prototype finished and a presentation ready by April (which is two months earlier than I planned for the hardware to be finalized), so I have to speed up everything and I'm in a frenzy now. These next two months will probably determine whether this project makes it or breaks it.

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2011, 10:47:37 pm »
All right, just let us know if we can do anything.  I'd be willing to help here and there.

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2011, 11:09:42 pm »
:AMAZE:
so, what exactly are your plans for this if it doesn't make it to the market proper?(not that i'm being doubtful here...)
do you think you could build and sell a few on your own/release the schematics in private?(i am salivating a bit at the thought of this) regardless, best of luck to you!

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2011, 01:28:26 am »
Nice ideas. As for the math softwares just make sure to not violate any distribution license, lol :P

As for selling it, would it be like the Pandora?
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Offline uberspire

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2011, 04:42:08 am »
My development board came in on Wednesday and I got halfway through assembling it. Still waiting on other parts to arrive. The board seems to power on all right, so hopefully I should be able to get the board up and running in the next couple of weeks.

so, what exactly are your plans for this if it doesn't make it to the market proper?(not that i'm being doubtful here...)
do you think you could build and sell a few on your own/release the schematics in private?(i am salivating a bit at the thought of this) regardless, best of luck to you!

As for selling it, would it be like the Pandora?
If someone wants a board, they could order one from me and I'll have one built. However, the processor on my development board doesn't have enough pins for a keypad since I'm using a LQFP variant which is easier for me to solder. The final design requires the processor in the BGA package which has more pins, but I don't have the tools and skills to solder that type of package. For that, I have to get a company to build those boards. So if someone wanted to buy a board right now, it'll probably cost around $300-$400 US and it won't be guaranteed to work as I myself haven't built a BGA version of the board.

Looking at my budget, I only have enough money to build two more improved versions of my development board using the LQFP package. A BGA version is out of the question for now. If I could win this contest at my university, I would get enough funding to finish prototyping the project, designing the enclosure and probably get a couple dozen of these units manufactured. I'm fairly confident my project would win in the technical area with just my prototype, but the judges are most likely gonna doubt that people would want to buy it or that a market exists for this. All I need is a killer presentation and I think I've got this sealed.

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Re: Uberspire's Project Paradise
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2011, 01:05:10 am »
Awesome! Do you think you will take pictures soon?

And yeah I guess it can be understood. If something is assembled by hand and you didn't do such thing before I guess mistakes can occur or you can accidentally break something. If it got popular it would most likely need to be done through some sort of chain production I guess.

And yeah money can be an issue for such project. For the OTCalc project we dealt with much weaker hardware, but we even discussed about multiple people (who're part of the project) contributing money to it. There's also risk: if it won't sell at all, you lose a lot of money.

I really wish you good luck on this project and the contest.
In case you are wondering where I went, I left Omni back in 2015 to form CodeWalrus due to various reasons explained back then, but I stopped calc dev in 2016 and am now mostly active on the CW Discord server at https://discord.gg/cuZcfcF


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