[theme : Hardware] [author : Kraul]
[theme : Peripherals] [author : Fylstra]
[theme : Peripherals] [author : Simpson]
[theme : Systems Software] [author : Welles]
[theme : Software] [author : Wimble]
[theme : Software] [author : Guzzon]
[theme : Construction] [author : McNatt]
[theme : Robotics] [author : Hollis]
[theme : Hardware] [author : Carr]
[theme : Software] [author : Quek]
Some uses of a microprocessor involve the connection to the outside world through an analog interface. When fooling around with such projects from music generation to robotic control, however, it quickly becomes necessary to have a large number of inexpensive real world interfaces. To help point you in the right directions Douglas R Kraul supplied an article on Designing Multichannel Analog Interfaces.
In the past, readers have seen some interest expressed in the concepts of robotics, the use of small computers as the brains of mobile automated mechanisms. Robots have long been fancied in science fiction literature and cinema, but only rarely have people taken any practical steps towards a "real" robot as opposed to paper romanticisms or stage dummies. One of those rare cases is that provided by Ralph Hollis and his associate Dennis Toms, both of whom are physicists at the University of Colorado, Duane Physical Laboratory, Boulder CO. Ralph has been pursuing the design of practical robots as an avocation since 1957, and lately has progressed to the point of a working mobile computer system called Newt, whose picture provides the theme of this month's cover. Turn to Ralph's article, Newt: A Mobile, Cognitive Robot for essential background information on contemporary robot design philosophies.
Hard copy is a most useful output, but it tends to be somewhat expensive. Dan Fylstra shows one very attractive option in his article on Interfacing the IBM Selectric Keyboard Printer. Dan purchased a used print mechanism late in 1976, and since then has successfully interfaced the device to his KIM-1 system. Readers interested in using these printers (which are available in significant numbers on surplus markets) will find Dan's article an essential guide to the art.
How can hardware be used to accomplish the details of Interfacing With an Analog World? Turn to author Joseph Carr's second part of a two part series to find out some of the details of basic conversion circuits which use the outputs of sensors and preamplifiers discussed in last month's article.
Much of the software that is available on the market today is available on paper tape so as to be easily read into your microprocessor. The problem is that most common paper tape readers are so slow that it seems to take forever to read a large program into memory. In the article Come Fly With KIM, Rick Simpson introduces us to a solution to this speed problem: the Fly Reader, which he uses with MOS Technology's KIM-1.
Now that you've got the hardware built, how do you run it? Ken Welles answers this question in Software for the Economy Floppy Disk. His previous article (February 1977 BYTE, page 34) described how to construct an inexpensive floppy disk with minimal hardware. This month he provides a series of subroutines to run it, which could easily be expanded into a complete floppy disk operating system.
Last month in the first part of his article Artificial Intelligence, An Evolutionary Idea, Michael Wimble introduced us to the use of a simulated evolution technique by which it was possible for a program to alter itself and reshape its responses as a direct result of an outside stimulus. This month in Part 2: Implementation, Mr Wimble details how the computer experimenter can implement this type of program on any small computer system.
To many people the concept of assembly language is that of the fundamental language of the computer next to machine language. However, each particular assembly language command must be broken down into a series of simpler command sequences. These commands are known as microinstructions. In his article, An Introduction to Microprogramming, S M Quek describes how the concept of microinstructions is a great benefit to the user of a computer, allowing the easy change of basic instructions.
In previous issues Michael McNatt has shown us the availability of Baudot teleprinters and the ways in which they can be interfaced with your microprocessor. In his concluding article, A Guide to Baudot Machines: Part 3, A Teleprinter Test Circuit, he describes a test circuit that can be used for generating Baudot characters for alignment and adjustment purposes.