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That’s the idea behind The Embroidered Computer, an artwork that looks like an embroidered tapestry but is actually an electromechanical computer that is similar in power to the eight-bit computers of the 1950s. Those mainframe computers filled entire rooms with their wiring, but this computer was made with handmade copper coils, a magnetic bead, and gold and silver conductive thread.
Using traditional embroidery methods, the Vienna-based designers Ebru Kurbak and artist Irene Posch hand-stitched electromechanical switches out of these conductive materials. As with any computer, when an electrical current passes through the copper coil, it creates a magnetic field that causes the magnetic bead to flip to an “on” or an “off” position based on the direction of the current. The entire art piece has a total of 369 switches, which makes up an eight-bit computer that can perform simple calculations.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.