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I like the idea behind these Schemer programmable modules by Aniomagic. Instead of using a special programming cable or serial bootloader, they use a light sensor to read simple programs directly from your computer monitor. The nice thing about this is you don’t need to invest in any specialized hardware, or even install anything on your computer to use it (their tool works runs right from their website). The downside is that the programs probably can’t be very complicated, or they would take a long time to download using this method.

I’m a little bummed though, because they don’t seem to be open source. Has anyone attempted to do something like this using an open platform? [Thanks, Lea!]

  • AndyC

    This reminds me of a scheme years ago (about 1982ish) to distribute programs in a kind of BASIC over the TV picture here in the UK.

    The language was called Basicode and could run on a variety of home micros of the time.

    The transmission was made by flashing a small white block in the corner of the screen. You stuck a light sensor over the block to pick up the transmission. The clever bit was that the block was (IIRC) around 10 lines high. The first line was always on so the receiving code used that as a start bit. The rest of the lines in the block represented a byte in binary and were black or white as necessary. Because CRT TVs of the day had fast phosphor and scanned top to bottom, left to right the code waited for the start bit and then looked for the other bits one scan-line-th of a second later, meaning a whole character code code be transmitted in one 50th of a second (50hz TV in the UK)

    Sorry if the explanation is a bit vague, not the easiest thing to explain.



    • Matt Mets

      Oh, thats cool! I had no idea that existed! Neat trick with with the usage of individual scan lines to transmit the data faster…

  • MadRat

    I seem to remember people doing this in the 1980s as well. If I remember right there was like a… a calculator watch or something and you would hold it up in front of the monitor and the monitor would flash and it would program in phone numbers for you… or something.