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Wooden Marble Adding Machine

Canadian software developer Matthias Wandel creates wooden contraptions with an engineer’s knowledge of mechanics. This 6 bit binary adding machine has nearly 1.5 million views on YouTube. Rick Regan at Exploring Binary, reports the machine functions like a low-tech integrated circuit, with wood instead of silicon (flow path), gravity instead of voltage (source of potential energy), and marbles instead of current (electrons).

He noticed one of his earlier marble machines incorporated logic-like elements and it might be possible to build a computer that runs on marbles. He started by building an adding machine, which stores the binary states of six bits and can add numbers from one to 63. The project illustrates basic principles of binary numbers, binary arithmetic, and binary logic. More information at Wandel’s Web page, WoodGears, and about the underlying logic and mathematics at Exploring Binary.

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