The calculators that wanted to do much more than calculate

Those of us who are already in their forties go through the school, the institute and the university without imagining that the calculator could happen someday. Its did it a little later, when we understood that our old calculators could be replaced easily by smartphones than many other things, and made them better.

That has not prevented the segment of calculators has become a unique niche market in which some users and developers show that some calculators want (and can) do much more than they were designed to do. The TI 84 is the best reference of a generation of cult calculators that have surprising software support.

Playing with your calculator

This is demonstrated by websites such as ticalc.org, where its managers give us the opportunity to learn about various projects that show that these calculators can do much more than we thought.

For example, in the field of games, where we have titles inspired by ‘Wolfenstein 3D’ such as the Cellar 3D, RPG games such as Sorcery of Uvutu or paid homages to Mario as the Oiram CE.

This cult to the classic calculators of Texas Instruments demonstrates how models like the TI-84 or TI-83 in their variants are especially loved by their users, who manage to get more out of these devices both through these developments and even from cables and expansion modules that give other options to these calculators.

From emulators to complete operating systems

calculators
Image Source: Google Image

There are of course emulators of these calculators for platforms such as Windows in case we want to experience those options through our computer and that are also very useful for those who develop new applications and games for these platforms.

Even more ambitious are the projects that propose alternative operating systems for these calculators. One of the most interesting today is KnightOS, which puts in our hands an operating system derived from the first UNIX available for IT calculators ranging from the TI-73 to the TI-84 + Color Silver Edition.

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This Open Source project – the code, of course, is available on GitHub – is still very fit, but it is also that on the official website we can find fulfilled information on everything that surrounds this project or, for example, how to return to the native operating system of calculators , IT-OS, without problems. You even have an online emulator to start experimenting.

calculators
Image Source: Google Image

Beyond IT: HP or Casio are also very dear

Other calculators from other manufacturers have also become almost cult objects for the user community. The graphical and scientific calculators of HP or Casio have of course models of reference that also count on a nourished set of developments around them that mainly focus in emulating them but that also take out more of their benefits.

We have an example in WP 34s, a project that allowed converting the HP-20b and HP-30b calculators oriented to the business segment into scientific and engineering calculators.

calculators
Image Source: Google Image

In fact we have a great resource in hpcalc.org, a site similar to the calculators of Texas Instruments precisely allows access to all kinds of emulators, applications, games, documentation and resources to program models such as HP 48g, HP 50 or HP 38G. Another of the good references is Cemetech, where the topicality of the graphical IT, HP and Casio calculators is followed.

It does not matter if the calculators made use of inverse Polish notation (RPN), which were programmable graphic calculators or scientific or business calculators: the love of the users for these devices is still extraordinary today.

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