To the untrained eye it may seem like a pregnancy test is a single-purpose item. Perhaps we have been shortsighted this whole time. Fortunately, one person wasn’t constrained by society’s expectations. They made a pregnancy test run Doom, Skyrim and a myriad of other chortle-inducing content because sure, why not?
Self-proclaimed hardware and software necromancer (and look, fair) @Foone took to Twitter over the weekend to document his pregnancy test experimentation journey.
hey you, you're finally awake.
You were trying to get pregnant, right? pic.twitter.com/uCgmymvahS
— foone (@Foone) September 5, 2020
In a Twitter thread they demonstrated the pregnancy test running clips from games like Doom and Skyrim. They also did their moral duty as an internet user by Rickrolling readers. Bad Apple makes an appearance, too.
Unfortunately Doom and Skyrim aren’t actually playable at the present time. Instead, the test runs a video of the games. Still, it’s pretty damn impressive.
“I’m hoping to get Doom playable, by writing a custom renderer that’ll do it in a sort of wireframe mode,” Foone said to Gizmodo Australia in a Twitter DM.
“Skyrim is a bit ambitious so that probably won’t happen.”
It’s important to note that the pregnancy test hasn’t actually been reprogrammed.
“It’s using a mask rom microcontroller… and a simple LCD that can only show 4 things,” Foone said to Gizmodo.
“So basically all I did was put an OLED display and my own microcontroller into the case. That took only an hour or two. There’s existing libraries for running the OLED that I could use, then I wrote a simple script to push pixels to it over USB.”
The existing CPU can't be reprogrammed and the existing LCD can only show 4 things, so I had to replace both to make any changes.
And the current version doesn't even fit into the shell!
(although I'm certain it will when complete) pic.twitter.com/BVcC6OTxaq
— foone (@Foone) September 6, 2020
In a separate thread Foone also dives into the hardware that comes with the digital pregnancy test. This is important because it reiterates a discovery made by @CrunkComputing in August.
He claims the internal hardware of the Clearview pregnancy test he tore down is simply there to read a traditional test strip buried within the test.
My wife had been checking if she was pregnant, initially with test strips, which can cost as little as 20 cents each. She got some positive readings, so wanted something "more accurate", a digital test.
Here it is. $12/ea, and it literally just reads a test strip. What a scam. pic.twitter.com/JGFnytbwFd
— Xtoff (@CrunkComputing) August 10, 2020
Foone used a different brand, Equate, for their tests and made the same discovery.
And check it out: this paper strip has a line on it… this is a pregnancy test strip, isn't it? pic.twitter.com/eEDHRzSyY7
— foone (@Foone) September 4, 2020
“In other words, the whole point of the digital part, the battery, IC, LEDs, and photodiodes… is to read the lines and tell you “PREGNANT” and “NOT PREGNANT” instead of “||” or “|+”
Digital pregnancy tests also tend to be more expensive thanks. Considering these discoveries, it’s perhaps worth going to your doctor rather than paying a premium for bells and whistles.
and why does it do that? so it can detect the lines on the paper!
In other words, the whole point of the digital part, the battery, IC, LEDs, and photodiodes… is to read the lines and tell you "PREGNANT" and "NOT PREGNANT" instead of "||" or "|+" pic.twitter.com/uTlKUTkiCY
— foone (@Foone) September 4, 2020