Ancient Computer Found, Can't Play Doom

They did have computers back in the days before The Beatles, around the second century B.C., and now scientists have used high-rez imaging and 3D technology to decipher the contraption's function, showing us that civilization in those days was a lot more technically proficient than we all thought. Carefully examining artifacts found on a shipwreck near Greece, researchers say the complex Antikythera Mechanism was used to accurately compute phases of the moon and planetary motion.

How did it work?


The thing used as many as 37 hand-cut bronze gear wheels, each with 53 teeth and a seriously clever pen-and-slot device that connected two wheels, allowing it to make subtle calculations about the moon's elliptical orbit around our planet. No word about whether the computer was a Mac or PC, but some wags were heard muttering that development of Windows Vista began on this very machine.

An Ancient Computer Surprises Scientists [New York Times]