Friday, October 15, 2010
Ever show a kid a vacuum tube? The concept of not having computers and TV is quite foreign to most North American and European kids. Even adults forget that the modern computer was realized just a generation and half ago. The funny thing about history is so few people realize they are making it and living it everyday.
Campaign launched to build Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine
A steam-powered computer designed by the 19th century mathematician Charles Babbage could finally be built after a campaign was launched to bring his dream to life.
The Analytical Engine – conceived in 1837 – remains one of the greatest inventions that never was as Babbage died before he could see out its construction.
However, John Graham-Cumming, a programmer and science blogger, now hopes to realise Babbage’s vision by raising £400,000 to build the giant brass and iron contraption.
He plans to use Babbage’s original blueprints for the device, which are contained in a collection of the inventor’s notebooks held at the Science Museum in London.
The campaign has already attracted 1,600 supporters who have pledged funds to kick-start the project.
Elements of the engine have been built over the last 173 years, but this would be the first complete working model of the machine.
"It's an inspirational piece of equipment," said Mr Graham-Cumming, author of the Geek Atlas.
"A hundred years ago, before computers were available, Babbage had envisaged this machine. "What you realise when you read Babbage's papers is that this was the first real computer.
From The Telegraph
More on the Analytical Engine
A debate on who invented the computer
More food for thought
Early computer commerical for Remington-Rand