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“A wise robot once said to me through Serial.println- that robots teach us about ourselves.”

PowerMac G3 and eMate 300

The lead teacher for the Northern Knights FRC 296 has bestowed upon me some pretty cool hardware to play with (thanks so much!) for poking around some old Newton development! 😀

Why Newton development? The end goal would be to have the eMate 300 controlling the robots, ALL of the robots in the mesh robot network. The eMate 300 would be the ultimate master watchdog! What exactly am I envisioning using the eMate 300 that the iPad can’t do now?

Newton has pretty amazing hand-writing recognition, it would be fun to be able to write to one of the robots, and have them pass the message along. You could probably argue that the iPad can do handwriting recognition thanks to the WritePad SDK, but there are so many legalities involved with 3rd party development SDKs that it might not be worth it.

eMate 300 has a hardware keyboard, so you can press buttons. :3 Also, the iPad can’t glow the same way that the eMate 300 does.

Basically, the eMate 300 is old, I have it now, and I want to use it 😀


The eMate 300 has this on its side, it almost looks like the same size as those WiFi cards. Maybe it is? This will be interesting to investigate further.


The bottom of the eMate has a tripod mount. This will be epic for controlling the robots, it will be standing up!


There are two ports on the eMate 300, a rectangle one and a Mac Serial Connection … I think? There’s also an IR link, but I forgot to take a photo of it.



The keyboard, there’s buttons and sliders!


So how on earth do you make “Apps” for this? Using an old computer of course! So much cool old stuff!

It’s a PowerMac G3, and it’s probably the most super computer ever for running Mac OS Classic.


We’re safe! It’s a PowerPC! :)


They had firewire back then? o.O




Diving into Newton development will be fun. Making it communicate with an Arduino will be spiffy!

I’ve been surfing around and I found two cool things that readers of this might be interested in too, a PowerPC Emulator and a Newton Emulator.

There will be more Newton posts in the future!

2 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Phil Dokas

    6 years ago

    That strange connection port on the eMate is a “Newton serial port”. Apple used to make adapters that converted them to more traditional ports (though it appears it also contains a traditional Mac serial port as well). A photo of the adapter is here:

    Check out the rest of that set too for a number of other interesting connection ideas.

    As for the slot on the other side, that’s a PCMCIA slot. Once upon a time I found an 802.11b card for my MessagePad 2100 and got it synching wirelessly with my PowerMac G5. Might be another thing to look into!

    Oh and as for Firewire on the PowerMac G3, you can tell they tacked it on fairly late in the development process. Notice how the ports on the back are cut fairly messily out of the recessed area and how the circuitry inside is actually on a daughtercard bolted onto the motherboard. Wacky stuff.

  • Jay

    6 years ago

    You need a Social Shield for the mesh network 😉

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