You Don't Know What Your Missing!!
Project Objective
The only real goal of our project at first was to see what exactly we could do on a TV using the Atmel MCUs. As we experimented further with our design, we began to form a concrete picture of what our design was going to do. There are, of course, many additional things that our design could do given the time, but there is only so much that can be done in a few weeks. All of our hardware is finalized as is the software display driver. As is, our project can display dynamic graphics while taking input from the user.

Below is a general timeline of the evolution of our project:

  1. Generate simple b&w video signal.  This involved determining NTSC TV standards (this was not trivial), among other things.
  2. Experiment with program capabilities to get a feel for what kind of project would be possible.
  3. Decided to implement color, which involved purchasing an RGB to NTSC converter chip.  Color is not possible using the MCU alone as the color subcarrier is close to 3.5MHz.  It would take a MCU (alone) operating at a frequency on the order of 100MHz to do what our system does now.
  4. Decided to use 2nd chip to create horizontal and vertical sync signal in order to offload work from the MCU.  Used this signal to generate external interrupts which provide the timing information for our design.  The sync signal is also fed to the RGB converter chip.
  5. Experimented with hardware capabilities to determine what kind of resolution our design could hope to achieve.
  6. Finalized routine that reads from SRAM and outputs information to the TV
  7. Using this display routine as a base, wrote our version of the program “Snake.”  Named it “Psychedelic Snake” in honor of the pretty colors that propel the user into a state of higher consciousness.