Creative Programmer Whips Up A Web Browser For Graphing Calculators

Brad Chacos

Those graphing calculators that you're issued in high school geometry class are capable of crunching some serious numbers, but if you're anything like us, you spent more time playing hacked versions of Zelda and Tetris on the things than solving quadratic equations. If you're more of a Web-head than a gaming guru, a new hack plops a browser on your Texas Instruments graphing calculator and lets you surf the Web when you should be working – assuming you don't mind the lack of newfangled features like images, that is.

The creator of the Gossamer Web browser is an PhD student named Christopher Mitchell, whom TechCrunch calls "the world’s most prolific graphing calculator programmer." Compatible with the TI-83+ through TI-84+SE calculators, Mitchell says in a YouTube demonstration that Gossamer accesses websites via the "Mobile CALCnet Networking Protocol."

"I first created a Python web clipping application employing Lynx that runs on the globalCALCnet metahub, then a calculator-side client named Gossamer. Gossamer can already request, receive, display, and scroll pages, maintain a page viewing history, and allow the user to click on links to visit pages," Mitchell explains on a forum post introducing the project . The browser also includes an input box for entering URLs, although that feature wasn't available at launch.

It ain't pretty, but it gets the job done. If the idea of graphing calc hacks intrigues you, be sure to check out the rest of Mitchell's website – there's plenty of calculator-modifying goodness to be found.

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