For the RC2016/10 RetroChallenge, my project is to interface some bubble memory to USB, to act as a very low capacity drive.
Bubble memory is the future of non-volatile memory. Or rather, it was the future of non-volatile memory from the 1960s to the 1980s. It was expensive, and didn’t scale beyond 4 megabit (512 Kbyte) devices, so it was displaced by flash memory. Development of bubble memory technology ceased in the mid-1980s, and it saw use in military and other specialized applications into the 1990s.
I’ll be using an Intel BPK72A bubble memory board, which has one Intel 7110A 1 megabit (128 Kbyte) bubble memory device and associated support components, including the Intel D7220-1 controller. I have not yet verified that the BPK72A is operational; if there is a problem with it I may be able to repair it, or as a backup plan, I might substitute a known good Helix bubble memory board for the Apple II, which also used the 7110A, D7220-1, etc.
The BPK72A needs about 6.75W of power, before I add a microcontroller and USB interface, so unfortunately it cannot be powered from USB, and will require a separate power input.