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Blinky Project Is 6502s All The Way Down


Virtually any platform you might find yourself programming on has some simple method of running a delay. [Joey Shepard] got rather creative on a recent project, though, relying on a rather silly nesting method that we’re calling 6502s All The Way Down.

The project in question was a simple PCB that was shaped like a robot, with blinking LED eyes. Typically, you’d simply reach for the usual sleep() or delay() function to control the blink rate, but [Joey] went off-piste for this one. Instead, the PIC32 on the board runs a 6502 emulator written in MIPS assembly. This emulated 6502 is then charged with running a further 6502 emulator coded in 6502 assembly, and so on, until there’s 6502 emulators running six-deep on the humble microcontroller. The innermost emulator runs a simple program that blinks the LED eyes in a simple loop. With the overhead of running six emulators, though, the eyes only blink at a rate of roughly once every two seconds.

It’s an amusing and complicated way to write a blink program, and we applaud [Joey] for going to all that trouble. We imagine it was a great way to learn about programming the PIC32 as well as emulation in general. Meanwhile, if you’re working on your own emulator feats, be sure to let us know!

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