Most laptop computers have battery life that’s measured in hours. Some offer “all-day” battery life. The PotatoP is a homemade laptop that should run for up to 2 years on a charge.

The catch is that it won’t do many of the things you’d expect from a modern laptop. But developer Andreas Eriksen says the PotatoP should be able to run “a minimal editor, word processor, spreadsheet app” or other software.

Eriksen says the PotatoP is an “intentionally underspecced” system that gets its long battery life thanks to its extraordinarily low-power processor, display, and other components. The name comes partially from the internet meme that “this must have been filmed with a potato” to describe lousy cameras and other gear.

So what kind of unserspecced hardware are we talking about here?

The heart of the system is a SparkFun RedBoard Artemis ATP, which features an ARM Cortex-m4F microprocessor with speeds up to 96 MHz, 384KB of RAM and 1MB of flash memory. And the screen is a 4.4 inch memory LCD display from Sharp. It’s a black and white, 320 x 240 pixel screen with no backlight but high visibility in well-lit environments.

Other hardware includes a Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2, an SD card adapter for additional storage, a 12,000 mAh battery, and even a small solar panel that could allow the laptop to run even longer without the need to plug it into a wall jack.

Of course, you’re not going to be able to run most modern operating systems with a graphical user interface on this sort of device. But Erikson uses uLisp (a version of the Lisp programming language designed to run on microcontrollers) to program applications like a text editor or even simple games like Snake. You can see the results in action in a demo video posted to YouTube:

You can find more details about the project at Eriksen’s HackADay page for the project.

via Hacker News

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