Monday, April 16, 2012

Fractal Geared Computer

Meet Bret Thorne, a kinetic sculpturer that makes fantastic clockwork creations!

Go to his website and check out some videos and fascinating descriptions.
Including this one...

    The most primitive computer is comprised of only two parts and from these two parts we can create all others. Those two parts are memory and a comparator. Some may claim that any practical computer must also have input and output, but that just is memory, or registers, memory again, or an ALU, nope that's a comparator. 
    We can further delineate memory into two types, read-only and read-write. We need the read-write type of memory to store temporary values for comparison. For example, read-write memory could be a toggle or counter. Read-only memory is convenient for storing tables or a program, however these two examples are symbolic and not necessary for computation. An example of read-only memory is pegs in a disc, where the presents of a peg represents a symbol.

    The true heart of a computer is the comparator. A comparator simply compares two values. One of those two values was read from memory previously and the other value is read at the current position in memory. 
    Now that we have our fundamental blocks we can start creating all the other complications that are common to modern computers. However, I'm out of time now so that will have to wait until later.... 
He's working on a giant geared computer. Very interesting stuff.

[via Make]

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