Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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I never imagined it would be edible.

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Cornputer

Store data on a corn cob as a novelty coffee table curio
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This is a sculpture that absurdly mimics a computer peripheral as a conversation piece.

The storage unit is a corn cob with various kernels punched out/left in to represent ones and zeros. The cob is held via those little corn forks, except it can rotate freely around its long axis so that a given row can be aligned beneath a bar on which rides a belt-driven read-head. The read-head is a light sensor that feeds into a small microcontroller that uses a dynamic algorithm both to position the head axially and linearly over the kernels, and to judge kernel presence/absence. The controller must contain logic to identify kernel spacing, similar to timing recovery in an analog modulated bit stream.

The corn cobs are programmed by hand, and contain programs for various output devices. One idea is a set of tubulur bells each with a hammer that strikes it to sound a musical note. Short songs can be stored on the cobs and played at the press of a button.

This would obviously not be a money-making scheme as production of these devices would be by hand only, assuming there were ever more than one of them. Also, the chance that anyone would pay money for this is exceedingly narrow. Calibrating the logic and mechanics would surely be nearly impossible.

Quispy, Dec 03 2002

Cornputer enthusiasts, hard at work http://www.logn.net...-amy-corn-shuck.jpg
[Amos Kito, Oct 04 2004]

Or, of course, use Indian corn http://www.stormeff...s/Indian%20Corn.jpg
[DrCurry, Nov 20 2005]

[link]






       I love it. +   

       Could possibly lend real meaning to the excuse "My dog ate my homework."
bristolz, Dec 03 2002
  

       Hm. Reading Indian corn could be interesting.   

       (I did once think about writing a story where the key computer code was hidden in something physical, like floor tile patterns or picket fencing, but I decided it was too, um, corny.)
DrCurry, Dec 03 2002
  

       I did something similar to this in the mid 70's for a tiny, Olivetti, invoice terminal. After writing the, I think 128 byte, Assembler program, one proceeded to break off teeth from plastic combs, 1 X 1/2 inches each, according to the code. The teeth remaining were ones, and the combs were slid into slots of a cylinder that rotated in the simple but cheap terminal.
FarmerJohn, Dec 03 2002
  

       //The corn cobs are programmed by hand//
Once this device catches on, you know there'll be a kernel plucker mechanism, to give both read and write capabilities.
Amos Kito, Dec 03 2002
  

       I think these are write-once, or WORM devices, no?
bristolz, Dec 03 2002
  

       And suddenly, Indiana real estate rushes ahead of Silicon Valley. I love it!
RayfordSteele, Dec 03 2002
  

       Make sure the Linux Kernel is inside the first 8 gigabytes
thumbwax, Dec 04 2002
  

       "Taking a byte" achieves a new literalism ......
8th of 7, Dec 04 2002
  

       I understand the Japanese are developing Bonsai corn.
hippo, Dec 04 2002
  

       <child>ren of the Cornputer
thumbwax, Dec 04 2002
  

       Forget Klez under this scenario. Corn smut would be the bane of the industry. =)
Pharaoh Mobius, Dec 04 2002
  

       The tricky part is that corncobs are not standard entities; rows can space themselves randomly, and probably very few are marginally alike.
RayfordSteele, Dec 04 2002
  

       Isn't that why, in the idea, [Quispy] notes:   

       "The controller must contain logic to identify kernel spacing, similar to timing recovery in an analog modulated bit stream."   

       Perhaps ECC corncobs?
bristolz, Dec 04 2002
  

       The reliability must be pretty good. I've never heard any reports of problems with a mainframe corn cob storage system.
Amos Kito, Dec 04 2002
  

       Steer clear of the overclocking. Too much heat and...POP!
half, Dec 04 2002
  

       Well at least you will not have any problems with viruses or denial of service attacks.
Jscotty, Nov 04 2005
  

       This wouldn't hold much data... would require *alot* of cobs to create even the most basic program. +
Zuzu, Nov 04 2005
  

       If you made a device that could make an unlimited number of duplicates, you'd have a corn-u-copier.
Adze, Nov 05 2005
  

       back up memory storage courtesy of The Jolly Green Giant. Excellent idea +
xenzag, Nov 05 2005
  

       If the corn began to grow mold, would that be "fuzzy logic"?
zigness, Nov 20 2005
  

       If the light sensor was sensitive enough, and one shone a laser or LED at the individual kernels, could you encode in tertiary instead of binary for Peaches n' Cream? No kernel=0 white kernel=1 yellow kernel=2? Of course, the chances of a cob of corn growing in a usable pattern are negligible, but you could paint them or something and the cob would still look fairly natural. As DrCurry stated, other types of polychrome corn could encode increasingly larger amounts of data than a binary system, though you would have to reinvent logic code.
Rmcgrath, Nov 20 2005
  

       The perfect company to implement this would have been Acorn. But they sadly went out of busines...
Minimal, Nov 21 2005
  

       [The number of kernels per ear can vary from 500 to about 1,200, but a typical ear would have 800 kernels, according to corn experts.]   

       So... 8 bit, each cob would hold roughly 100 characters or:   

       "The crow flies at high noon, meet agent Bob at the agreed upon location. Bring the package. The code phrase is “popcorn”."   

       ...good for spies. spy cornputer
Zuzu, Nov 21 2005
  
      
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