Glow In The Dark Computer Memory Illuminates The Fundamentals


Laptop or computer memory has taken on several kinds about the a long time, from mercury-dependent delay-line tubes to handwoven magnetic core. These times, risky storage working with semiconductors has come to be ubiquitous with computing, but what if there was a better way? [Michael Kohn] has been performing on a new common for personal computer memory that works by using glow in the dim stickers.

Clearly we jest, having said that we’re continue to mighty impressed by the demonstration. Eight pleasant star-formed phosphorescent stickers depict eight bits of memory, totaling one particular byte. The glow in the dark content is stuck to the inside of brief cylinders, just about every of which contains a white LED and a phototransistor. The memory array is wired up to an iceFUN FPGA board, which is then related by means of level shifters to a Western Design and style Middle MENSCH solitary board computer.

To generate a ‘1’ to memory is as easy as creating to the corresponding memory handle utilizing 6502/65C816 assembly language. Using the STA command will illuminate the white LED at that memory deal with, in turn irradiating the glow in the darkish sticker and ‘saving’ the state. Conversely, LDA at the very same handle will study from the phototransistor, which picks up the glow (or absence thereof) emitted from the sticker.

A refresh cycle is wanted to sustain the 0s and 1s throughout the memory array as the phosphorescence fades, not dissimilar to modern DRAM demanding regular recharging to preserve memory contents. The complete set up is a tangible demonstration of the fundamentals of unstable pc memory, and would make for a exciting newbie task. [Michael] has a lot more details on his web page and GitHub web site.

Whilst the FPGA board has its have minimal set of blinkenlights, an 8-little bit RGB LED array would make this challenge even brighter.


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