VHDL Etch-a-Sketch

What was your favorite toy as a child? I always loved my Etch-a-Sketch — the ability to doodle, to create. Of course, there was the tension of erasing a masterpiece, but constant potential for creating something new outweighed that. But now there’s a new, updated way to play — with VHDL and a Nexys 3 board. This Instructable by  tells how this group built theirs. 


This project uses a relatively small number of parts. It requires a Nexys 3 board, a VGA cable, and a VGA 640×400 resolution screen.


Once all of the components have been gathered, prepare your software, the Xilinx ISE Design Suite and Digilent Adept. Build the black box diagram. Create the move input process and then the drivers. At that point, you can build the VGA controllers and encoder. Create the clock dividers. Then, assemble the files, get ready to play, and have fun!

The black box.

We’re excited to see people doing great work like this in and out of the classroom! Comment if you have played or if you have any suggestions.

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About Amber Mear

I was the Digilent blog editor, and now I'm a contributor. I love learning about wearables and writing about social issues in STEM. Outside of work, I can be found watching Netflix with my cat, working on an art project, or trying to find new, delicious local foods.

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