Curta Calculator Simulation


The Curta Calculator simulation is a 3D re-creation of the original portable mechanical calculator, invented by Curt Herzstark. Unlike modern electronic calculators, the Curta was entirely mechanical. It could add, subtract, multiply and divide, and unlike other calculators of the day, it could fit in your pocket.

How to use:

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The Curta may seem awkward to use for those of us used to electronic calculators. If you need hep, consult the manual section of the presentation.

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I got the idea for this project after reading Cliff Stoll's article 'The Curious History of the First pocket Calculator', in Scientific American (January 2004). There is something engaging about mechanical gadgets, with all of their clockwork whirrs and clicks, that is absent in our modern electronic devices.

Immediately I wanted a Curta of my own. Unfortunately, they tend to sell for upwards of US $2000. Sigh, maybe next week.

Instead I set out to build my own digital version.

Looking back it seems a strange pursuit to spend days using my my computer (which is in many ways an overgrown calculator), to produce a simulation of a mechanical calculator. Building a computer model, cooding the OOP structure to create the input and output devices, timing animation sequences, co-ordinating sound effects, preparing documentation...

Now finally after all of that work I can use my Curta to add, subtract, multiply and divide.


Having Problems with the Curta

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Check out Rick Furr's Curta page

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