A PDA-like mini-pocket computer

For a time in the late 1990s and early 2000s, PDAs (personal digital assistants) were very popular. But smartphones made PDAs obsolete because even early models had so many more features. Many of today’s microcontrollers have similar performance to early PDAs, and Volos took advantage of this to build an Arduino Nano-based mini handheld that’s reminiscent of a classic PDA.

PDAs – especially early models – were much more limited than smartphones. Their specs were more akin to what we now call “dumb phones”, except they didn’t have any sort of Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity. They usually only had a handful of “apps,” such as a calendar, watch/timer, calculator, and notes. Later PDAs would include some connectivity options and the ability to send email, but this mini PC is more like the first generation of PDAs like the Psion Organizer from the 80s.

An Arduino Nano board controls all functions of this device. It attaches to a custom circuit board that also serves as the body of the device. The PCB also contains a small OLED screen in portrait orientation, three buttons, a potentiometer, an LED and a piezo buzzer. Volos designed the PCB so that two boards could stack together, separated by spacers, with the LiPo battery sandwiched in between. Volos has programmed some basic PDA applications that use custom libraries that reduce memory usage.

If you want to build your own Arduino Nano mini PC, Volos has posted all the files you need on its GitHub page.

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