September 29, 2010

2 Min Read
The Visual 6502

It’s ancient computer month here at Gadget Freak HQ.  Today I ran across an online emulator for the MOS 6502 chip called the Visual 6502.  There are, as it turns out, many 6502 emulators, both online and downloadable.  These were all presumably written by implementing the documented instruction set.  The makers of the Visual 6502 emulator took a more realistic, and difficult approach.

Starting with  a single 6502 chip, they dissolved the package and took high resolution photographs of the chop.  They use custom software written in Python to draw polygons over the bitmap, and then reverse engineer the polygons into a transistor netlist.

They then simulate the transistor netlist in a java application right in your browser window.  But that’s not all.  As the simulation progresses the netlist states are back annotated onto the layout using different colors for high versus low.

So after you enter your own 6502 program into their emulator (opcodes only, no online assembler for now) , you can click the run button (or single step) and visually watch your program move data through the circuit.  Magnificent!

It requires HTML5 and lots of memory, and doesn’t run in Internet Explorer.  Give it a look if you can.

Send in your gadget!

Design News is always looking for new gadets to feature in the print edition of the magazine.  Mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, whatever.  Believe me, if they’ll run my hot rodded Billy Bass they’ll run anything.  If you’ve creating something clever and would like to see it in print, submit it to the Design News editors:

You’ll get the thrill of seeing your product show up in a print magazine right in your mailbox, and you’ll get a check for $500 as well.

Steve Ravet

Design News Gadgeteer

Sign up for the Design News Daily newsletter.

You May Also Like