bottom line: Repurposing legacy hardware is a popular pastime in the tech community, and Artillect’s latest YouTube channel is a great example of what’s possible when you think outside the box. Is it practical? No, not at all. Is it neat? Absolutely.

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Riley took Electronic typewriter Brother AX-25 since the late 1980s, which uses a daisy to print text and has embellished it with modern equipment. The AX-25 features a 16-character LCD capable of editing documents stored in its 8K memory, but of course we can do better today.

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The work is not yet complete, but at this stage the typewriter is connected to a breadboard with two multiplexers controlled by an Arduino Uno.

The Arduino is connected to the Raspberry Pi via a serial port with a voltage divider in the middle to convert the Arduino’s 5V output voltage to 3.3V, thus preventing damage to the Raspberry Pi. It is also connected to a laptop via USB. The link allows Riley to use the typewriter as a Linux terminal, although the functionality is admittedly somewhat limited.

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However, as Riley demonstrated, this contraption is quite handy for creating ASCII graphics. He didn’t want to create too much detail until he got a replacement typewriter ribbon, but the small example looks great.

Riley uploaded the code he wrote for the system to Github for those who are interested in messing around with their own project. There are even several typewriters for sale on eBay if you’re looking for this particular model.

Ultimately, the YouTuber wants to turn the machine into a full-fledged computer, and the next step is to connect the keyboard to the Arduino so that he does not have to use another computer to control it. We will be monitoring this project to see how it develops in the coming weeks and months.

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