Thursday, March 17, 2016

Arcano Systems releases Gem-8, a Retro 8-bit, WiFi-enabled computer and chiptune music synthesizer

Gem-8, an 8-bit, WiFi-enabled personal computer and chiptune music synthesizer from Arcano Systems...


Arcano Systems has launched a new Kickstarter campaign for the Gem-8. The retro styled, WiFi-enabled computer specializes as a chiptune music synthesizer, but also has a few other tricks up it's sleeve.

I have written about previous successful Kickstarter projects from Arcano Systems before, but unlike those, Gem-8 covers more than just retro sounds. Some features include:

  • 256 VGA video out
  • Audio out: 8-bit-quantized line out (standard stereo connector with same signal in both channels)
  • PS/2 keyboard input
  • 16kB RAM
  • WiFi expansion card
  • MIDI expansion card
  • 8 channels of GPIO
  • Ability to expand its uses via software and hardware
They go on to say:
The WiFi card allows Gem-8 to connect to the internet using the preloaded serial terminal application. Gem-8 is particularly well suited to accessing online multi-user domains, text-based multiplayer online games, and bulletin board services that use the Telnet protocol. The MIDI interface peripheral connects a MIDI keyboard or other MIDI musical instrument to the Gem-8 computer, allowing users to create their own C64 and NES-video-game-style chiptune music using the preloaded chiptune synthesizer application. The Gem-8 chiptune synthesizer application also features video synth visualization capabilities. Currently, the Gem-8 synthesizer software features 8 waveforms and 4 effects settings for a total of 32 unique patches.

There will even be an option for a kit to solder up. Check out their Kickstarter campaign here. It certainly seems like this could scratch that retro PC itch. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.