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The Calculator

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The Calculator The origin of the calculator is attributed to the abacus, which was in use long before the use of written numeric systems. The abaci were constructed from a wooden frame with beads sliding on wires. This calculation device is still in use today by some merchants in China and elsewhere. A derivative of the abacus is Napier's bones, which is a complex solution extraction solution. Another interesting counting or memory aid was the Tally stick, with the oldest known device (Lebombo bone) dating back to 35,000BC.

Modern calculators are powered by battery or solar cells and can vary from small credit card size to larger calculators with built in printers. The calculator become popular in the 1960's as productions costs improved, and were therefore more affordable to the end user.

The mod ern day "standard" calculator consists of the following parts:

- power source;
- keypad, consisting of the ten digits, decimal point, equals sign, four arithmetic functions, a cancel or clear button;
- On and off or power function button; with other buttons including the square root, and percentage symbols; and
- A single number memory

There are more complex calculators, like scientific and financial calculators catering for complex calculations like financial models and algebraic equations. Financial calculators are used predominantly by accounting, investment and real estate professionals.

The main difference between computers and calculators is that calculators are designed with pre-defined built-in functions, whereas computers are programmed to handle multiple and different tasks, like word functions, calculations, images and more.

Calculators are now used in education, where scholars are able to utilize the devices, however it has been noted that improper usage of the calculator, by adding a negative sign for example, will result in incorrect solutions. Therefore the educationalists are encouraging scholars to rather manually calculate or roughly estimate the answer, with the calculator being used as a checking mechanism of the manual calculation.

Designed to make our counting lives easier, a calculator makes counting, calculating and numerical problem solving quicker and more accessible to everyone.

Famous Why? Saves time and paper, by not having to manually calculate!
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Tags: china, keypad, science, designe

Category: Science & Tech  - ( Science & Tech Archive)

Date Added: 21 October '08

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