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Merlin 6 was designed as a media rich computer for students and teachers. The picture below shows two different configurations for this machine. The black one uses a regular sized keyboard in onboard "mouse" and a wireless (infra-red) connection. Since the main computer works with a touch screen (finger or pen), the keyboard can be left at home and is only really needed for typing in long texts. The golden model has a built in, reduced size keyboard and a mechanism which allows the machine to be used in several different "poses".

Merlin 6 physical models

The main features of the Merlin 6 are:

Note that a "computer in the keyboard" model is a lower cost option which doesn't include the LCD screen, touch screen nor the battery.

The connectors on the side of the machine and the internal interfaces are: This is the block diagram for the machine:

block diagram

The Spartan 3 400 chip (or 1000 in the Merlin 6+) includes two (or four) processors that run Smalltalk natively. The complete processor design will be available to the users, so they will be able to freely change it in any way they wish (or even create entirely new projects or an emulation of an existing computer such as the PDP/11). Since the programming for the FPGA and all the software is contained on a Secure Digital card it is trivial to switch between entirely different hardware/software configurations.

The LPC2101 ARM processor includes 8KB of Flash memory and 2KB of RAM. It reads the data from the SD card at start up and loads a file from there to the FPGA.

The Merlin 6 uses a resistor network to generate the video outputs while the 6+ has an LCD display instead.

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