Human beings have always created tools for calculating numbers, from the ancient abacus to today’s electronic calculators. But here’s an ingenious calculator drawn on paper — the creation of comic book artist Jason Shiga. And he and the folks at Numberphile have created an explanatory video of how it works.
It’s basically a simple binary system using 0s and 1s. Shiga has created a maze like series of tubes to perform the basic calculations. At various points, the user must make a choice — 0 or 1 — by turning over (or not turning over) a flap. Those flaps will either connect or block certain pathways later on in the maze. Adding 1 + 1, for instance, ultimately gets you the answer 1-0, or the binary code for 2.
Apparently this is part of a larger project Shiga is working on involving a mathematical approach to comic books. More videos have been promised, and we eagerly await their debut.