[ETech] Chinese NES Look-alike Turning Into Cheapest Computer

Mar 13, 2009
Phil Keys, Silicon Valley
Derek Loma, director of the Social Movement Laboratory at the California Institute of Telecommunications and Technology, the University of California San Diego, operating the NES-like computer. The university involves in the activities of the Playpower Foundation.
Derek Loma, director of the Social Movement Laboratory at the California Institute of Telecommunications and Technology, the University of California San Diego, operating the NES-like computer. The university involves in the activities of the Playpower Foundation.
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The internal structure of the NES-like computer. The main SoC is hidden under the black circular portion on the mainboard. "The goal of this product is to create the most affordable computer," according to the foundation.
The internal structure of the NES-like computer. The main SoC is hidden under the black circular portion on the mainboard. "The goal of this product is to create the most affordable computer," according to the foundation.
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]
The foundation also plans to display interactive information on a TV by connecting a mobile phone to the computer.
The foundation also plans to display interactive information on a TV by connecting a mobile phone to the computer.
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]

Playpower Foundation, a US-based nonprofit organization, explained its project to develop educational software that runs on a Chinese computer resembling the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), a game console manufactured by Nintendo Co Ltd.

The explanation was made at the Emerging Technology Conference (ETech), which is currently taking place in San Jose, California. The project was launched about a year ago, and this is the first time that the details of the project have been announced to the public.

As a platform for the software, the Playpower Foundation is planning to use a computer equipped with a SoC based on a 6502 microprocessor core. The computer is manufactured in China. It was designed to be connected to a TV and has a function to emulate the NES hardware.

The computer is widely available in China, India and South America for about US$10, according to the foundation, which claims that the platform is already off-patent and is currently open source hardware.

The Playpower Foundation considers that the platform will provide an environment where children in developing countries can enjoy learning at an affordable cost.