ArTICam: Game Boy Camera Photos with a Graphing Calculator
Published by KermMartian 9 years, 6 months ago (2014-11-28T19:29:48+00:00) | Discuss this article

For several years, the idea of video-chatting using graphing calculators and globalCALCnet has been jokingly tossed around on Cemetech. More realistically, ideas about connecting a Game Boy camera to a graphing calculator have been discussed here for at least three years; as early as 2004, the users of United-TI were discussing the feasibility of such a project. In February 2011, Cemetech administrator Merthsoft and I bought Game Boy cameras for such a project, but for over three years, my camera lay unused in my toolbox, disassembled but forgotten. Two weeks ago, a discussion during our weekly Have Calculator, Will Program (HCWP) teleconference led me to pull it out and seriously consider connecting the camera to a calculator.

The recently-published ArTICL Arduino-TI Calculator Linking library made this project quite straightforward by providing an easy way for an Arduino to talk to a calculator. The Game Boy camera requires six digital I/O lines and one analog line, so it could not be connected directly to a calculator, but an Arduino turned out to be a perfect platform to use for controlling the camera. In fact, existing code for interfacing the Game Boy camera's M64282FP image sensor and AVR microcontrollers already existed, and combining this with ArTICL turned out to be the work of a few days. With no additional hardware beyond an Arduino and a Game Boy camera, monochrome or color graphing calculators can now take and display photographs. In fact, because the Arduino pretends to be a calculator (or in some cases a CBL2 device), absolutely no extra software is required on the calculator. To take a picture, you simply use the GetCalc(Pic1) command, and a photograph from the camera will be stored as picture Pic1 on the calculator. You can also read and write the M64282FP's registers as TI lists (arrays), allowing the calculator to adjust parameters like brightness and contrast.

More pictures and documentation about this project can be found at the link below, including the firmware and wiring information to build this project yourself. I challenge you to try building this so you can take your own 128x123 or 64x64-pixel photos with your calculator!

More Information
ArTICam documentation, hardware, and firmware