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The Old Calculator Web Museum

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Remember that old paper-tape calculator your folks used to do their taxes? Or the crazy beige 70's calculator your high school math teacher insisted on using? Well, those look positively modern compared to what you'll find at The Old Calculator Web Museum, an extensive collection of vintage math machines.

The calculators in this online collection range from simply antiquated to utterly bizarre. Others look like they're taken from early NASA programs (surprise -- the Wang LOCI-2 was indeed used to test space suits at NASA). Some of the calculators have cool styling, like the Facit 1111, which shows its numbers in a hip, tilted typeface.

The museum also features an Advertising and Documentation Archive, which is a hoot. The ad for a Mathatronics Mathatron 8-48 calculator read thus (emphasis added):

"They laughed when I sat down to play the Mathatron."

"Little did they realize then that this was no ordinary $5,000 Mathatron. All they could see was the simple algebraic keyboard, and the paper tape readout.

"But underneath the Mathatron, cleverly disguised in the table, was capacity bringing the totals to 48 individually addressable storage registers, 480 steps of program memory, 18 prewired programs of 48 steps each, increased speed, and added program control!

"By my right hand, unknown to those snickering on my left, close by the candelabra, was an additional control box which told me, by blinking lights, which of the 10 loops I was addressing. And there were other buttons there, too.

"When I finished my evaluation of the formula involving trigonometric, logarithmic and other functions, matrix manipulations, triangulation and the solution of polynomials, they applauded generously." Send for complete details.

Other notable calculators: Hewlett Packard HP-01 Calculator Wristwatch (the gold version went for $795), Wang Model 360SE Calculator System (which featured high-end math functions at a low price -- as well as awesome Nixie Tube displays), and Toshiba BC-1211S Electronic Calculator (which omitted the division function to save money).

Check out the museum to satisfy your retro calculator fetish.

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Take a Look Inside the 1987 Consumer Electronics Show
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Since June 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show has provided a venue for tech companies to show off their hottest products for the upcoming year. It’s also become a way to measure the progression of technology over recent decades, as the video below shows.

According to Sploid, the footage was filmed by Art Vuolo at the Consumer Electronics Show held in Chicago in the summer of 1987. The 30-year-old tape chronicles a time when camcorders, VCRs, and “portable” TVs were considered cutting-edge gadgetry. As we know, it would only be a few decades until those items served more of a purpose as kitschy craft supplies than actual hardware.

After watching part one of Vuolo’s series, check out the other three videos from the event which include a Casio synth guitar and an early video phone.

[h/t Sploid]

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Wisconsin Software Company Will Microchip Its Employees
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Typically, pets—not people—are microchipped. But as NBC News reports, one Wisconsin-based company plans to become the first business in the country to offer the tiny implants to its employees.

Three Square Market (32M), a software design firm in River Falls, Wisconsin, will begin providing the chips starting August 1. The rice-sized implants—which cost around $300 each—will be implanted in the hands of staffers between the thumb and the forefinger, and will allow them to purchase vending-machine snacks, open secured doors, or log into their computers with the wave of a hand. The company says the chips are optional.

32M is partnering with Swedish-based BioHax International to install the chips, which were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004. The chips utilize electromagnetic fields to identify electronically stored data, and near-field communications, a technology that's used in contactless credit cards.

Fifty company members—including CEO Todd Westby—are expected to volunteer to receive the implants, according to a company statement. The company will foot the bill for the implants.

32M's microchipping program may sound unconventional, but the company—which owns machines that can use microchips—says it's simply riding the wave of the future.

"We see chip technology as the next evolution in payment systems, much like micro markets have steadily replaced vending machines," 32M's Westby said in the statement. "As a leader in micro market technology, it is important that 32M continues leading the way with advancements such as chip implants."

As microchipping becomes more common, Westby added, people will use the technology to shop, travel, and ride public transit.

The company says the chips are easily removable and can't be hacked or used to track recipients. However, some experts have argued the technology is an invasion of privacy, and that it could lead to heightened employee scrutiny.

"If most employees agree, it may become a workplace expectation," Vincent Conitzer, a computer science professor at Duke University, told NBC News. "Then, the next iteration of the technology allows some additional tracking functionality. And so it goes until employees are expected to implant something that allows them to be constantly monitored, even outside of work."

[h/t NBC News]

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