User Interface

The user interface was originally planned to contain a 128x64 LCD display, a 4x4 hexadecimal keypad and a 5x4 keypad for other keys, a similar interface to those found on some of the 1970s machines like the MK14 and the KIM-1. Over time it became apparent that this was going to be rather useless for controlling a machine that should be capable of dealing with actual text and not just hex numbers, and that a better UI was going to be needed. While waiting for some parts to arrive in February 2017, I got thinking about making a VDU board similar to the one found on the Superboard II, a computer I actually owned at the end of the 1970s. After some research into how this was done, I spent the next several months designing my own VDU board. Here's some pictures of the prototype:

As for the keyboard, I originally looked at stripping down an old terminal keyboard and figuring out how to scan its matrix. I got as far as buying a VT260 terminal keyboard from eBay, reverse-engineering it and actually scanning it with a microcontroller before I decided I didn't really like it after all. During that time I started watching keyboard videos on YouTube and then I got the idea of building my own keyboard from scratch. It's possible to get the individual key switches and keycaps to go on them. Then you just have to decide on a layout and make a PCB. Easier said than done, but I'm going to give it a try.