what kind of device is it and why do you need it?

what kind of device is it and why do you need it?

Recently, Japanese developers introduced the single-board Naoto64, which can do almost nothing of what modern devices are capable of. Yes, he does not have the usual conclusions, he only knows how to flash LEDs. And the processor of the device is single-bit. Despite all this, the single-payer was quickly sold out. So what is this novelty? Details – under the cat.

Oh, these Japanese people

The device was developed by the company Switch Science, and it seems that it hit the market just in time before all the New Year holidays. In general, this single-payer currently has no practical application, at least not yet. You can play with it, but it is unlikely to be adapted to anything.

This is a small board with a number of electronic components. A computer has a 1-bit processor with a frequency of 1 Hz, a 1-bit bus, a 4-bit ROM, and two bits of address space. All this allows you to use the LEDs of the device – they can turn on, turn off and flash. Not much, but still at least some signs of work.

Despite such unusual functionality, the device was sold out almost immediately, as mentioned above. Probably just like a toy for yourself or a gift for a geek friend. And yes, it costs not a penny at all – its price is $17.56. Many much more functional and productive single-payer devices cost less.

Unfortunately, it is not known how many copies of this device were produced, and it was supplied only in Japan. But, as we can see, it made such an impression that the techno-media around the world are talking about him. It was sold on various Japanese platforms, including the official website of the developer.

For comparison, you can cite the cost of a much more functional single-board Pi Zero 2 W, the price of which is about $15. Here we immediately have 512 MB of RAM, a quad-core processor with a core frequency of 1 GHz, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules plus a microHDMI port for connecting to a monitor. Yes, this device is also popular, but Naoto64, as the Japanese called their product, was simply taken off the virtual shelves.

Pi Zero 2 W is at least two orders of magnitude more productive than the Japanese device, and even then, this is probably an underestimate. After all, we do not take into account the number of cores, multitasking and other capabilities of modern operating systems.

But what’s the big deal, even if you bought a relatively expensive garland with a couple of hundred colorful lights for the New Year, there will be a more powerful processor inside.

Collect it yourself

In order to further interest geeks, the Japanese decided to provide the device as a designer that you need to assemble yourself. The buyer receives a bag with all the necessary components, as well as an assembly manual. In total, the package contains about 50 elements that need to be soldered onto the board (it is also included), as you can see in the photo above.

Features of Naoto64:

  • general purpose register: 1 bit × 1

  • address space: 2 bits

  • address bus width: 1 bit

  • ROM capacity: 4 bits

  • set of commands: ADD, JMP

  • program counter: 1 bit

  • flags register: not implemented

  • arithmetic operation: 1-bit addition (XOR)

  • clock frequency: approximately 1 Hz

  • total number of chips: 4

What can this single-payer do? It has an extremely limited set of commands, including ADD, JMP, and XOR, and users can program a combination of ROM switches to control its LEDs.

The power source is a USB Type-C port. AC adapter and cable are not included. Also, the buyer should not count on units with PowerDelivery support – this power technology is not added by the manufacturer. However, the developers provided a Reset button for those cases when Naoto64 stops responding to commands.

So why is it needed?

If we talk about more or less experienced DIY electronics enthusiasts, then probably only as a toy. But for the rest, including people who are just starting to do electronics, it’s a good learning tool. Children who like to collect everything with their own hands will be especially pleased with Naoto64.

The device is very basic, probably the most difficult thing to do with it is to teach it to generate the phrase Hello World, if you program the LEDs to flash in Morse code.

Actually, that’s all. Why was the single-payer sold out so quickly? Probably simply because it is a very unusual device, there is nothing like it on the market. Each buyer thought of either himself or his geek colleague/friend who would appreciate Naoto64. And it is not known exactly how many devices were put on sale.

It is quite possible that the manufacturing company is now planning the second part of the campaign to sell the device, because now almost the whole world knows about it, so the supply can be launched in many countries, not just in Japan.

By the way, the project has its own page on GitHub – here is the link to it.

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