[Click for large view.] Author and blogger Matt Alt writes from Japan: Ah, Seventies Japan! A Sharp Abacus-Calculator. Owned by Frederik Schodt, Japanese manga expert and all around great guy. (His book "Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics" is THE must-read on the topic). Abacuses were widely used throughout Japan up until fairly recently… READ THE REST
What would be a neat addition would be a sensor array for the calculator to track the movement of the abacus' tokens and take than input into account(extra credit if a cunning arrangement of electromagnets allows the calculator to set the tokens, as well).
I learned the abacus when I was a child. I thought it was silly, when I could do arithmetic much faster using pen and paper or in my head.
Also silly was that it was it was promoted at the time to be faster then a electronic computer or calculator. Which sorta was, if you ignore the fact you're comparing someone who can use the abacus quickly and that to a slow button pusher. And ignore actual computing time vs. usage time.
I hated learning the abacus, fortunately that didn't turn me away from math or my interest into computers, which happened much later.
Gunblade for nerds
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