Using old dusty hardware being sold on eBay, hardware hackers can transform them into modern devices that perform tasks that they were never intended. Such is the case when hardware hacker Trammel Hudson discovered some Motorola MDT-9100T Mobile Data Terminals being sold on eBay that looked straight from the Fallout universe.
According to Trammel, when he saw the terminals being sold on Ebay, he could not pass them up due to their retro-future design. The MDT-9100T was developed in the 1980s to be installed in police cars to act as a mobile data terminal with a built-in radio. What makes these terminals stand out are their dark, retro-future design with big buttons, keyboards, and monochromatic screens like we see in futuristic apocalyptic games like Fallout or movies like Alien.
While you can still do some fun things with Windows 3.x, Trammel instead wanted to turn it into a modern computer. To do this, he purchased a BeagleBone Black baseboard (BBB) to act as the brains for the terminal and created a ribbon cable and and keyboard interface that allowed the BBB to work with the MDT-9100’s keyboard and monitor.
When asked how much it costs to upgrade the MDT9100, Trammel told me:
“The terminals are on ebay for $100-$200 and the BeagleBone Black was $45. Otherwise it has just been parts from NYC Resistor’s junk pile for the cabling, power supply and prototyping boards.”
To learn more about how Trammel upgraded the terminal, I strongly recommend you read his blog post.
Once this was done, he was able to use the BeagleBone to install Debian and start playing with various software. Due to its resemblance to a Fallout Pip-Boy, he installed the Pipboy-3000 software and you can see the terrific looking results in the image below.
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.