Project team: Soham Kudtarkar, Rachel Lee
Course: Computational Design & Fabrication, spring 2018
The mechanical computation project is intended to put computation on display, illustrating key concepts in computing. All components of the project operate by mechanical means, including models of gate level logic and tunneling. The project uses quarters to represent true values and pennies to represent false values, with users able to insert coins into the top of the project and see what output results. Gate level logic is modeled by multi-layer, 9 cm x 9 cm units, each made using a laser-cutter and composed of four layers of plywood and one layer of acrylic. Tunnel units can have two to four usable plywood layers, depending on tunnel crossovers. A software component to this project allows users to input boolean statements into a program to return a topological map of the gates and connections necessary to emulate the logic.
Although this project lends itself to broad audiences, it is specifically intended for two primary audiences: individuals who are learning about computing and those who enjoy kinetic art. Putting computation on display at a larger scale allows users to more clearly see how composed logic takes input and gives output. The display itself also has the potential to be artistically interesting, with pennies and quarters, both seen and hidden, cascading down and priming gates to yield a final output.
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