New OS versions bring cool USB interaction capabilities
Posted by Xavier on 22 February 2016, 10:30 GMT
In mid-January 2016, TI released OS 5.1.5 for the TI-84 Plus CE and TI-83 Premium CE, featuring several bugfixes, and new TI-Basic USB I/O commands, as well as the ability to receive input from an USB HID keyboard (mappings). Then, a month later, TI released OS 4.2 for the Nspire CX series. Besides the announced features (new graphing capabilities, etc.) and the unannounced anti-features (downgrade protection, etc.), this OS version also brings the same new TI-Basic USB I/O commands, as well as a more powerful Lua counterpart: "Asynchronous Serial Interface" APIs, described in their respective programming manuals.
So it seems that TI wants to augment some of their recent USB-only models with a simple serial I/O capability, similar to that of the models with legacy I/O, which is a good thing for increasing the versatility of their calculators :)
Using the new Nspire Lua ASI APIs, Jim Bauwens, Adrien "Adriweb" Bertrand and Xavier "critor" Andréani tried to determine which cheap USB devices exposing a serial interface might be supported. Some Arduino boards and a TI Stellaris board were not detected by the calculator as devices suitable for serial communication (though they were by the Nspire computer software), but a TI Launchpad MSP432 board with USB IDs 0451:bef3 was. This board exposes a standard USB Communications Device Class (CDC) interface. Community members are invited to experiment with their own boards using the testing code and share their discoveries ;)
This seems like such new developments will bring important new possibilities to the community of developers and users (both classroom and hobbyists), in the mid-term. We hope the companion devices will be cheap enough, to maximize their reach, and we hope to hear more about what TI has in mind :)
More detailed technical information and pictures were posted on TI-Planet.