Texas Instruments Is Releasing a New Graphing Calculator with CircuitPython

Texas Instruments is integrating Adafruit's CircuitPython into their upcoming TI-84 Plus CE Python graphing calculator.

The Python programming language is 30 years old and is now more popular than ever before. Python is a high-level general-purpose programming language, which means that it lacks the performance of low-level languages like C. But it is easy to understand and use, which has made it very successful. Adafruit developed CircuitPython to bring that ease-of-use to microcontrollers and that has proven to be a great choice, with many people utilizing CircuitPython over more traditional languages. Texas Instruments must have noticed the appeal of CircuitPython, because they have implemented the language into their upcoming TI-84 Plus CE Python graphing calculator.

If your last experience with graphing calculators was with the legendary TI-83, then the current generation of graphing calculators will blow you away. We're talking full-color high-resolution displays, powerful processors, rechargeable batteries, and more. While scientific and graphing calculators have long had rudimentary programming capabilities, they have historically been limited and cumbersome. The TI-83, for example, was programmable in either assembly language or TI-BASIC (Texas Instruments' version of BASIC). Thanks to CircuitPython, the new TI-84 Plus CE Python will be far more versatile. It isn't quite the full desktop Python programming experience, but it is very close.

Exact details are still limited at this time, but Adafruit has investigated as much as they can and have uncovered a few details. The TI-84 Plus CE Python will run TI-Python, which Texas Instruments said that they derived from CircuitPython. Python is an interpreted language, which means that code is executable in real time and doesn't first need compilation. That remains true for TI-Python, which features an integrated interpreter shell. Users can, of course, also write entire programs in the editor and execute all of the code at once. A number of add-on modules (special libraries) will also be available for tasks like plotting and even artistic creation.

It appears that the TI-84 Plus CE Python is already available in the UK, but, despite the fact that Texas Instruments is an American company, it isn't yet available for purchase in the US. You can, however, sign up for alerts on the Texas Instruments website to receive a notification when this exciting new calculator does hit store shelves.

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Maker, retrocomputing and 3D printing enthusiast, author of books, dog dad, motorcyclist, and nature lover.
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