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Making a Computer Out of 10,000 Dominoes

by Kenny Hoeschen

Matt Parker is a former math teacher from Australia who now mixes his two passions of mathematics and stand-up comedy. Parker, with the help of a group of other extremely bright people, worked out how to build computer logic gates using ordinary dominoes. In the video below from Numberphile, he explains the math behind logic gates and demonstrates the building blocks of the domino computer.

And the video at the top shows his 10,000 domino computer, which is capable of adding two four-bit binary numbers and returning the five-bit binary sum. The bit positions are determined by whether a domino is knocked over or remains standing. It obviously took hours and hours of work to set this thing up, so you wouldn’t want to use it to do your taxes, but it’s astounding what can be achieved with the most basic materials.

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