I was really amazed when I saw this project. It is a really cool project that proves that “Computation is not just about electronics“.
Paulo Blikstein (a Phd candidate at Northwestern University) implemented a project for his “How to make (almost) anything” class at the MIT Media Lab, when he was a first-year MSc. student. He was interested in ways to make the opaque transparent, to make people understand what is “under-the-hood”.
The idea of the project was to build a device that could do computation without electrons (well, not considering the electrons in water itself). So, Paulo implemented Boolean Logic with water!!
Here is a picture of Paulo with his project:
In his project, he implemented AND and XOR logical gates, which means you can make a half-adder!!
Here is a picture of the XOR gate:
Here is a picture of the AND gate:
You might say that the the pictures above are for the same module. Well, you’re right. It is the same module, but that’s the cool thing about it. The device he built is an AND and an XOR gate at the same time!
If you consider the bottom output pipe you’ll find that it’s an XOR gate, because you will get water out of the bottom pipe “only” if one of the input pipes inserts water to the gate!
On the other hand if you consider the output pipe in the middle of the module, you’ll see that the water will come out of the middle pipe only when the two input pipes pour water at the same time, so they collide together and fall into the U shaped pouch which will only the water to come out of the middle pipe!
In other words, even if some of the theories that say that “some day we won’t have electricity” become true, we may still have calculators!!
for more info from Paulo’s site click here