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Cardboard Computer and Plotter Really Work


I’ve heard of corrugated cardboard being used to house computers, but this project takes cardboard computing to a whole new level. Niklas Roy used rubber bands, rope and cardboard to create a functional, mechanical computer and plotter.

niklas roy cardboard plotter computer photo

Niklas Roy taught an electronic media class at Germany’s School of Art and Design Offenbach. The goal was to create a series of mechanical cardboard computers from scratch. Shown here is one of those machines. This fully operational NAND gate and plotter were designed out of Finnish cardboard. The complete system was assembled using super glue, adhesive tape and tie wraps and rubber bands.

niklas roy cardboard plotter computer pen photo

The plotter has axles and slide rails made out of welding rods. There are two rotary dials and a switch, which move in a plane, controlling the movement of a pen as it “vectors” to produce low resolution graphics on a sheet of paper.

Be sure to check out Niklas’ blog for more of the contraptions built by the class. This is definitely an awesome project, and it makes you wonder what you could do at home, given enough time and ingenuity.

[via designboom]

Comments (1):

  1. Eric says:

    That’s incredible, awesome and very very cool… but it’s not a computer by any definition. It’s more like a Magna Doodle.

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