CARDIAC paper computer emulator

Mark sez, "The recent post of the CARDIAC Unboxing [ed: the CARDIAC being a cardboard teaching computer that Bell Labs released in the late 60s] made me poke my father, who has written a CARDIAC emulator that actually looks like the real CARDIAC, to put together a webpage with the source of it. Both his childhood and mine were definitely influenced by this little wonder out of Bell Labs, so for those who can't get the cardboard variant, here's the software one, along with a scan of the original CARDIAC manual."

CARDIAC: (CARDboard Illustrative Aid to Computation) (Thanks, Mark!)



  1. Sure, anybody can make a computer using computer magic. Now let’s see you make one out of cardboard. (Seriously, aren’t there papercraft models out there?)

  2. Check out the PDF of the original manual for a amazingly sexist flowchart on fixing a flat tire…


  3. After years of tracking resources about this device I have to say this last week has been a gold rush of goodness. The links on this new page are amazingly useful, thank you much for posting it up.

    Stay tuned for the video tutorials, we found the tripod so the video quality will be better than before…maybe.

  4. I didi build a paper version of the CARDIAC from some pdfs I found a year or so back. It worked, but paper was not the way to go. Get yourself some good cardstock. I am working up an idea to build a bigger version of the device for teaching.

  5. I invented, pattented and published The Instructo Paper Computer when I was a teacher during the early 80’s. It was published my McGraw Hill, and I used to be able to find it on the web at some computer museum. It was a psedo assembllanguage devive that I used with my math classes. Any body have any info on it?

    Thanks, Fred Matt;

  6. Hi there,

    Does anyone know how to TOT using the Cardiac system?

    Tot: Input a variable sized set of input values and produce the sum as output. The first input value will represent the number of values that follow as input to be added.


    thats the task

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