In the 1980s, instead of Arduino and Raspberry Pi, there were the 8-bit micros such as the Vic 20, the Commodore 64, the BBC, and the Apple II. A generation of electronics and robotics inventors got their start with these machines.
With my generation, things were a little different. Our computers were sold as “easy to use”, and were paid for by our parents. That meant a lot of kids, including me, didn’t dare wire anything up to our computers even though many were meant to be played with in this way.
That said, a lot of people did use their computers this way, doing everything from hacking the telephone system to rigging up smart homes before “the internet of things” had an internet to connect to.
Like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi, the Commodore series of computers have a “general purpose input and output” expansion. This means there are several pins that can be written to at address 56577 (using POKE) or read (using PEEK).
The article goes into depth on blinking an LED vis the user port, programmed in BASIC.
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