HOWTO Make A USB Adapter For A VISTA80 Keyboard From 1977

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Jeremy Ouellet bought an old VISTA80 from the Canada Science and Technology museum and figured out how to use it on modern computers using a passive USB adapter. He shared his experience in a 14 minute long video at the virtual FOSDEM conference in February 2021.

Original story by Jeremy Ouellet (Fosdem 2021). Published 2021-03-29, Originally published 2021-02-07.
This work is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium license.

Video Copyright Fosdem 2021. License: Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium

"The talk will be about how I bought a retro keyboard for a VISTA80 from the Canada Science and Technology museum and reversed engineered it to convert it passively to USB. The VISTA80 was a machine built in Canada and was used to "Create pages of text for cable TV systems or to create running lines of text or titles for television displays."¹ The VISTA80 was manufactured around 1975-1977 and was "One of the first character generators to use a computer chip (Intel 8080A) as a controller"(1).


  • The history of the Vista80
  • A look inside of the keyboard
  • The Original circuitry
  • Prototype
  • Mapping the matrix
  • Making the circuit board
  • Highlights and Lessons learned"

Slides: Fosdem21 USB keyboard Slides.odp

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