June 11, 2016

Why A Mechanical Calculator Tries To Commit Suicide When You Divide By Zero?

Did you ever try to divide any number by zero? What’s the result? Have you observed what actually happens when you try to divide by zero on your computer or mobile phone? You might have got an error on your computer and showed infinity on your smartphone. It’s true, right? But, what if you divide by zero on a mechanical computer? Well, the result is quite creepy and you need to watch it yourself to believe it.

Do you remember your mathematics classes in your primary classes when your teacher taught you the rules of multiplication and division? Certainly, you might have come across this rule of dividing a number by zero. Your teacher might have told you that you can’t divide any number by zero as the answer is infinity and even your calculator shows error or infinity.

Try to do the same on a mechanical calculator and the device goes insane and you see something shoddier than an error message. Here’s what happens when you program a mechanical calculator to divide by zero. The machine literally goes erratic however some say it’s still going to this day.

How does it Work?

Well, are you quite astonished upon looking at the weird title of the article? What does a mechanical calculator try to commit suicide?

The mechanical calculator fundamentally performs division and multiplication by subtracting and adding, thus division is just a sequential subtraction.

For example, dividing 10 by 2 is basically:

  1. 10-2=8
  2. 8-2=6
  3. 6-2=4
  4. 4-2=2
  5. 2-2=2

However, if you repeat the same process using zero, it doesn’t make logic to the calculator and it becomes an infinite loop:

  1. 20-0=20
  2. 20-0=20
  3. 20-0=20
  4. 20-0=20
  5. 20-0=20
  6. 20-0=20 and so on….

The same happens when a division-by-zero command is given to Facit ESA-01 (the mechanical calculator). This vintage machine hardly attempts to perform the subtraction over and over to calculate the outcomes.

Watch the Video Here:

YouTube video

I’ve shared a video below wherein someone attempts to divide by zero on a mechanical calculator Facit ESA-01 and the result is pretty much scary.

About the author 

Imran Uddin

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