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Culture By Numbers

a dual soroban-calculator

The soroban is a type of abacus from Japan which, deriving from the Chinese suanpan, emerged in the 17th century. The soroban survived the arrival of electronic calculators and is used widely in business today. In the last three decades or so, dual soroban-calculators, combining the two calculation tools, have been popular. The model above dates from 1979.

The soroban is said to help users become adept at mental calculation, with users visualising the abacus as they tackle mathematical problems. As such, many Japanese parents prefer their children  to learn mathematics using a soroban.

Via Retronaut


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