How Did We Try to Count Numbers and It Turned Into Images?

Would you believe me if I said calculators are actually the ancestors of computers?

In the age of computer chip-embedded toasters, smart glasses, and even humans with tiny processors under their skin, it might be hard for you to imagine a world without such computers, let alone the first one. Would you be shocked if I told you that it was an automatic calculator? Well, that was precisely what Charles Babbage envisioned in the 1820s. He called it the Difference Engine.

Although a lack of funds prevented his invention from becoming real, Babbage strived on and soon created the Analytical Engine, capable of more complicated tasks, and even included input and output units and storage. The lack of advancements in technology saw his plans stay conceptual, however. His designs are said to be the inspiration for many later computers.

By the 1890s, Herman Hollerith created an automatic data reading machine based on punch cards- one that did not require any human intervention- an early form of memory card, if you may. The punched card approach would also see its use in the Harvard Mark-1, in 1994, a machine over 49 ft (15 m) long, 6.56 ft (2 m) high, and 2 feet(60 cm) deep! Its ability to operate in logarithm and trigonometry played a part in its huge brain.

The war saw a rise in the development of computers. Z3, the first programmable computer, and ENIAC considered the first modern computer, were a result of troubled times, times which also saw the destruction of Z3 in a bombing raid on Berlin. ENIAC is the result of John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert’s efforts to make a machine that could calculate the projectile trajectories of artillery shells. It also consumed 160 kilowatts of electrical power, and occupied 1,800 square feet!

These huge, and thirsty computers would soon be replaced by compact machines once transistors replaced vacuum tubes, and integrated circuits and microprocessors became a reality. The first personal computer, the Altair 8800, was launched in 1975 and could be connected to a TV as a screen. This would be soon accompanied by cheaper and easier-to-use computers for individual users.

The computers you see today came to be with the invention of the internet in 1989. Cellular phones and automobiles would soon become commonplace in schools, homes and workplaces. With such a rich past, computers and technology inspire nothing short of excitement within enthusiasts, one that is rewarded with the best advancements.