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My love of retro computing has sent me on the journey to have a small handheld device that runs a BASIC interpreter. I was so happy to run across the SMART Response XE!

This was a popular classroom device that allowed teachers to setup lessons, quizzes, whatever into a program and then the students would use these devices to interact with the curriculum. The advent of wide spread cell phone use has made these devices obsolete. However, they are rugged, excellent on battery life, and best of all, COMES WITH AN ARDUINO PROCESSOR!!!

Yes, this humble device includes the Atmel ATmega128RFA1 processor with 128k RAM, 4k EEPROM, and external 1Mbit memory chip. It also includes an RF transceiver, but unfortunately, doesn’t use a common BLE or Zigbee interface.

In the battery compartment there are interestingly placed holes. When you crack one of these open, you will find programming pads that align with the holes allowing the units to be programmed without removing the case. This is good, because these units were meant for the classroom and are really hard to open.

- SMART Response XE (found on eBay and others)
- SMART Response programming adapter (prototyping board, pogo pins, and wire)
- JTAG Programmer (I used the AVR ISP MkII)
- Tiny Basic Plus for SMART Response HEX file (in the GitHub repository)”

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