In London on a work trip I decided to do some Psight-seeing. Probably the nerdiest thing I’ve ever done.
Above: a video playing on a street in London…. but not just any video; this is MAME emulating a PSION MC200 and not just any street; this is opposite 17 Harcourt Street – part of Psion’s old London HQ. (Apologies for the appalling video quality – too much reflection on the laptop screen confused the phone’s auto-focus; it prefers the reflection of my ugly mug rather than the emulated MC on the screen!).
An update on the MC400 emulation quest so far:
The project has gathered MC200/400 ROM images from versions
0.62A – a sort of basic post-manufacturing test version,
1.26F – pre-SDK version,
2.60F – the final MC WORD release.
Detective work done to enable emulation of the MC hardware has included inspection of the SIBO/EPOC16 SDK include/header files together with block diagrams from the HDK and old hardware/PCBs. This has enabled significant decoding of how the custom ASICs in this range of Psion machines are realised and together with some anonymous donations of information from people with detailed Psion technical knowledge (and use of Matt Gumbley’s code from the long-defunct “SIBO Linux” project) we now have an emulation environment that will boot a stock ROM image and includes support for the MC’s digitiser(touchpad) and the (read-only for now) loading of binary images of Psion SSDs so other apps (like the spreadsheet) can be installed.
Oh, and there’s also an emulation for the Psion HC120 too… 😉
All credit goes to MAME developer Nigel Barnes aka Pernod who’s put in all the hard work to actual realise this!
NOTE: The original copyright in this work has passed from Psion (via Motorola Solutions) to Zebra Technologies Corp https://www.zebra.com/gb/en/about-zebra.html – the activities detailed here are driven by an appreciation of what was ground-breaking technology and a desire to preserve and archive details of the physical machines that were built at the time via emulation.