Charles Babbage’s difference engine—the mechanical precursor to today’s digital computers—is a beautifully intricate machine. Now, you can take a real close look at it using this gigapixel image.
Babbage never actually saw a working version of his difference engine: his project spiraled out of control and became too expensive to complete. But, since, replicas have been made from the original plans, one of which is housed at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
This gigapeixel image is of the Computer History Museum exhibit, and it’s amazing to pan around and find subtle details hidden away. For some perspective, that hand crank on the left hand side of the machine stands at a little under shoulder height, so there’s plenty in there to discover. So far, the numerical display is my favorite part. What’s yours? [Babbage Difference Engine in Gigapixel via Boing Boing]