Now why would anyone want to build a working Turing Machine with scrap metal? I wouldn’t know the creator’s real reason, but if I think “Just because I can” is a darned good answer.
Let’s go back a bit in time and refresh our memories about the Turing Machine, which was created by English mathematician Alan Turing. Wikipedia tells us that the machine is “a theoretical device that manipulates symbols on a strip of tape according to a table of rules. Despite its simplicity, a Turing machine can be adapted to simulate the logic of any computer algorithm, and is particularly useful in explaining the functions of a CPU inside a computer.”
The name Turing may also ring a bell because of the Turing Test, which is the basis of measuring artificial intelligence. Think robot movies!
Anyhow, a guy named Jim MacArthur has showcased his hardcore DIY skills when he created his own Turing Machine from scrap metal, and he uploaded a video on YouTube earlier this month. His short description of his creation:
This is a mechanical universal Turing machine (given an infinite track). It uses ball bearings as its memory and has no electrical components, other than a small motor used to drive it. This is a quick overview video filmed at Maker Faire UK 2011.
What’s the use of this machine? Not much, especially if you are not into computer science, but MacArthur still deserves kudos for drumming this up! Think you can one up him?