coloring computers

non-electronic computers that work when you color them according to a simple set of rules.

an exploration of computation without electricity and semiconductors, an attempt to reinvent digital systems away from efficiency and productivity, and hopeful prototypes to expose the inner workings of computers.

coloring computers pack archive

related and inspired by some previous experiments like arte generativo en papel and paper computing in general.

4-bits to 7-segment display hexadecimal decoder (12020)

the coloring computer/decoder, waiting to be activated a human coloring the wires according to the logic rules the coloring computer/decoder, with an input of 0011, and an output that can be read as 3

a coloring decoder built with NOT (triangle), AND (semicircle), and OR (the other shape (?)) gates (compuertas), based on a manual design.

the complete decoder

colored and animated version by Vega

download the decoder in full size 1487x3057 (png, ~446KB)


you use two colors to set the state of 4 "bits" at the top circles.

one color stands for "1", the other for "0".

what number, according to the conventions, would these 4 bits represent?
and what hexadecimal digit would correspond to that number?

you transmit those states/colors by coloring the wires.

the wires lead to three possible types of gates, all of them with their input(s) above, and their output below:

you finish coloring, and you see the digit in the display as a result!

the description of the circuit in verilog can be found in the logiteca.

computadora no(r)pal (12019)

logic circuit in the shape of nopal

a full-adder built with NOR gates (see logiteca) in the shape of no(r)pales

download computadora no(r)pal in full size 1200x1600 (png, ~429KB)

coloring computers (12018)

the original ones

photo of the cover of the zine, colored photo of a pair of colored pages of the zine, with a 7 segment display showing the digits 2 and 3 photo of a pair of colored pages of the zine, showing a digital circuit answering if two colors are the same

the booklet contains three series of computers: computers that compare, computers that count, and computers that play. they are all nor-based logic circuits designed by using truth tables, karnaugh maps, and maxterm expansions.

original site and resources

download the page-by-page zine (pdf, ~1.5MB)

download the ready-to-print-and-cut zine (pdf, ~1.4MB)

CC-BY-SA 4.0

for the print and cut zine: print double-sided, cut in half, fold the pages and assemble

incoming links