Calculator or not? (from the TV show Numb3rs)

  • Thread starter James Willis
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  • #1
Greetings everyone,
I thought this would be the place to pose this question. In the TV show Numb3rs Charlie plays with something I am not familiar with.
Wooden base
4-5 wire half rounds with beads on each half round.
Anyone know what this is? A calculator or toy?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
berkeman
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Welcome to the PF. :smile:

Some abacus variation? Can you post a picture? You can probably use a Google Images search to find a picture to link to...
 
  • #3
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Beadball_render.jpg


Here’s a Bathsheba bead toy.

Not sure if this what you saw.
 

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  • #5
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@jedishrfu I don't think so. The OP said it has a wooden base.

Ahh okay. There’s a kids toy that has loops with beads on them. I just need to see a photo I guess to figure it out. I know mathematicians like to have interesting math artifacts on their desk and in their office at least the ones in my college did.
 
  • #6
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Maybe something like this

a-wooden-bead-maze-childrens-educational-toy-cx7k1c.jpg
 

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  • #7
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Here’s some models I’ve seen at our school

https://muse.union.edu/mathematics/about/olivier-models/

olivier1868_38.jpg
 

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  • #8
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In any event, it has to be a toy since Charlie leaves all the computing to his graduate assistant in each episode.
 
  • #9
DaveC426913
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OP: Try Googling for scenes of the show. There are whole Pinterest accounts dedicated to it.
You might get lucky and find the contraption in a scene.
 
  • #12
Abacus.jpg
 

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  • #15
DaveC426913
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I don't think that's an easter egg. It might just be a random configuration before taking the scene.
Thing is, it was built that way.
There are 12 dark balls.
Then 3 light ones.
 
  • #17
Tom.G
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And here is how to use it.

Instructions: This calendar is designed for a “month, day, year” date sequence
and will not work for a “day, month, year” sequence. The date is revealed on the
left hand side. The outer ring shows the month (i.e. in January, the first month,
just one bead would sit at the left hand side of the outer ring; in December, all
12 beads would sit there). The next 2 rings reveal the day of the month (e.g. 03,
19, 31). The four final rings indicate the year (e.g. 1986, 2004). For July 19,
2004, the number of beads in sequence working from the outer ring would be
7,1,9,2,0,0,4. The beads on the right hand side await use at a later date.

from: http://resources.tenthousandvillages.ca/cdn/factsheets/English/20/TTV5900820-4ABB5AB6.pdf

Cheers,
Tom
 
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  • #18
Maybe it’s a date/time device the 12 beads for the month, the three beads for the tens digit of the day in the month... and then four digits for the year.

BINGO: it’s a Himalayan calendar device

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/handmade-himalayan-calendar-fair-136592242
And here is how to use it.

Instructions: This calendar is designed for a “month, day, year” date sequence
and will not work for a “day, month, year” sequence. The date is revealed on the
left hand side. The outer ring shows the month (i.e. in January, the first month,
just one bead would sit at the left hand side of the outer ring; in December, all
12 beads would sit there). The next 2 rings reveal the day of the month (e.g. 03,
19, 31). The four final rings indicate the year (e.g. 1986, 2004). For July 19,
2004, the number of beads in sequence working from the outer ring would be
7,1,9,2,0,0,4. The beads on the right hand side await use at a later date.

from: http://resources.tenthousandvillages.ca/cdn/factsheets/English/20/TTV5900820-4ABB5AB6.pdf

Cheers,
Tom
Oh!I got it! My post #14 now seems ridiculous.:eek::smile:
 
  • #19
gmax137
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Never seen one of those, I thought building one would make a nice home-shop project. Then I started thinking about the beads and how many of them I would never need to touch, once set. Maybe that's the point of this device: 12-31-9999 is a looonng way off.
 
  • #20
DaveC426913
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12-31-9999 is a looonng way off.
Sure it is. That's exactly what we said about the year 2000, and now we have planes falling out of the sky.

I'm not going to get caught with my pants down again. I've been writing the date as five digits ever since 02002.

(I'm invoking Poe's Law.)
 
  • #21
Awesome find, I thought it might be a calendar. Thanks for your help!
 

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