Clockwork Fractal Computer

We’ve all seen cool computer case mods, but one computer scientist has created something really cool: a computer made out of gears.

No, this one won’t run Skyrim, but it will create fractals. Brent Thorne, a computer scientist based in San Francisco, is documenting the project on his blog, called “Fractal Clockwork.”

The gears are made out of wood cut beautifully with a laser. This computer will be “Turing-complete,” which means that it will be able to handle almost any program you care to put into it.

“I’ve been working on this for a while now. Its a wooden computer that computes continuous self-similar fractals,” he said on his blog.

Computer made out of gears

The prototype will stand about one meter tall. The finished product will stand over two meters tall. It will be able to perform calculations, load and store values and use lookup tables. The disk will actually by a disk, and will have a 96-bit capacity.

The great thing about this machine is that instead of being hidden away in some case, the whole computers operations will be visible to everyone.

If you want to see this computer get finished, Thorne will be setting up a Kickstarter campaign soon. We can’t seem to get enough of steampunk design. It’s always fun to imagine what modern life and the future might have been like if we’d had Victorian sensibilities on the modern age and even in the future. Perhaps the popularity of steampunk is our ambivalance about technology. Sure, it’s made our lives better, but it also brings things like pollution. It’s a constant reminder that we’ve bitten the fruit of knowledge and have been kicked out of Eden as a result.

This cool post comes to us thanks to Boing Boing. If you like this, you might want to check out a Steampunk-inspired globe lamp, as well as an Aztec computer case.