Computers

Classroom Computer Brought Back to Life With Linux

Readers of a certain age may remember the SMART Response XE, a handheld computer released for educational purposes in around 2009 but since discontinued. Currently available very cheaply as a result (we’ve seen the opportunity to buy a box of 32 units for less than $300) they are becoming good targets for experimental hacks. Ingenious hacker chmod775 has turned an XE into a fully functional Linux terminal computer, as highlighted by Hackaday.

The NanoPi Neo Air within the XE's battery bay

(Image credit: chmod775)

The idea of the SMART Response XE was that teachers could compile a test or other assessment on a host PC (a Pentium 4 was required, or an early Intel Mac) then distribute it to a fleet of XEs via IEEE 802.15.4 low-power wireless, the standard used these days in Zigbee and other home automation standards. The XE probably has more processing power than a Hue lightbulb, but its ATmega128RFA1 microcontroller and wireless transceiver unit isn’t exactly going to run Crysis.


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