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The insane innovation of TI calculator hobbyists

In the mid-to-late 2000s, you either knew, or were, that kid in grade school. You know. The one who could put games on your graphing calculator. You may be surprised to learn that some of these people didn’t exist totally in a vacuum. There was in fact a thriving scene of hackers who had bent these calculators to their will, writing games, math software, and more generally hacking on the platform just for the sake of it.

True to my interests, it’s all deeply embedded, pushing the limits of platforms that were obsolete when they were released. I’ll take you through some of the highlights of Texas Instruments calculator hacking done over the past two and a half decades, along with an explanation of why these projects are so technically impressive.

A friend of mine and I at high school bought the data transfer cable for our graphing calculators so we could play multiplayer Bomberman on them in class. Good times.

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