Brad's Toolbox of Embedded Computing


CD16, a free 16-bit CPU core in synthesizable VHDL and Forth-based HDL.


Tiny Open Firmware, a Forth-based development system for ultra flexible embedded firmware.

TOF is an expression of an idea: self-extending embedded systems. It was inspired by the IEEE1275 Forth system that boots all Sun and Apple workstations. But much smaller, hence tiny.

Two complementary features, run-time compilation of add-on code and fine grained patchability enable a new class of applications. Basically self-installing hardware for small systems. Forth offers an elegant solution, although brute force traditional methods and more expensive hardware will accomplish something similar.


Forth, a computer language designed circa 1970 for realtime computing.

Forth is a computer language and a school of thought. Forth is a very different way of programming computers. You may have never heard of it, but it has a small core of serious users and supporters -- in fact, some of the smartest people in the computer business. The reasons for Forth's decline are not technical, but human. Many aspects of early Forth are obsolete, but the essence of Forth is as solid as ever. Forth is basically a simple but powerful natural language syntax that is completely extensible. It doesn't hit an abstraction wall the way other languages do. 

The 1994 ANS Forth standard freed programs from implementation dependencies, leading to native code implementations as fast as C code as well as to endless usenet discussions.

You can view my collection of Forth tools and algorithms in text or hyperlinked HTML format.


Brad Eckert, a hardware/firmware guy.

A hardware hacker from way back. My soldering skills were passable (for a kid) by the time I grudgingly took a computer class in high school. Who needs a computer to flash a light on and off? Well, I took to that PDP-8 like a cat to sand. Soon I was toggling in machine code hacks and then designing, building and programming my own hardware, with an unhealthy obsession. Not good for grades. After 20 years I've learned to curb my enthuiasm enough to function as a normal person.



brad1NO@SPAMtinyboot.com