Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Difference Engine

In some ways this contraption makes more sense than capacitors and circuitry.  What's so incredible about this "Difference Engine" is that it was fully planned in Victorian times and what stopped it from being made was the inability to precisely construct all the pieces at the time (coupled with the timeframe in which he was given to build it.. clock and other jewelery precision from that era is still incredible to me, but they took extraordinary amounts of man-hours to make.)  It's encouraging to know that Babbage could plan beyond the abilities of men at the time; it's every designer's dream to think of something that others claim is impossible (it's kind of our job..) but Babbage took it to the next level and completely engineered it as well.  Now that he's been dead for 200 years, one has finally been built.  It's a thing of beauty, and I'm surprised the Ford Museum hasn't had one made.

Now that we're rapidly demolishing the physical construction barrier with nanotechnology and new materials with super strength and durability, what barrier would you like to see broken in 200 years?  What do you find is one of your greatest limitations?