Friday, December 10, 2010

Lego Babbage Difference Engine

Now here's an impressive Technic construction.  It's huge and has lots of gears (therefore, I LOVE it!)

It's called a Babbage Difference Engine.  According to the Wikipedia article..
A Difference Engine is an automatic, mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions. Both logarithmic and trigonometric functions can be approximated by polynomials, so a difference engine can compute many useful sets of numbers.

According to the comments on the video..

This is a working hand cranked Babbage Difference Engine made using LEGO parts. It can evaluate any polynomial of the form aX^2 + bX + c for X:0 through N with answers to 3 digits.

For this video the machine is set to calculate the squares of the integers. The video shows the computation from X=2 through 8. It will output 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, and 64.

Don't completely understand exactly how it works, thus my intrique!

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