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Down to the metal

November 21, 2010

I’ve come across a couple of clips recently about hand-made computers, a topic that’s always interesting to me. I’ve done only a little hardware work myself so I’m always a little in awe of people who can design and build working machines.

Paul sent a link to this page about Zusie, a machine built with relays instead of transistors (or vacuum tubes). Fredrik Andersson bought a bunch of obsolete telephone switching boards and de-soldered 1500 relays from them to build this beast.

Zusie is still a work-in-progress; this isn’t the finished computer. (See the notes at the site.) But here’s a clip of it running a program Frederik wrote in the assembly language he designed for it. He did his own microcode too, of course.


And here’s another one I really enjoyed. Mike Davey built this working Turing machine. I was really impressed by his design, or I should say by his implementation of Turing’s design.

Here it is in action.

Now if only he could find an infinite tape.

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