Looking for the 80s-era toy, "The Brain"
August 25, 2005 2:14 PM   Subscribe

Back in 1988 or so I remember coming across a toy called, if I remember right, "The Brain." It was clear plastic, cylindrical in shape (a little bigger than but similar to a stack of 20 CDs), and it had about a dozen small black rods sticking up around the top plane of the cylinder. You could see a bunch of interlocking plates in the inside of the cylinder, and they controlled which rods you could move at which time. The goal was to figure out the code. Has anyone seen this toy or know where I can find one? I've tried eBay and Froogle but no luck.
posted by mark7570 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total)
Response by poster: never mind, just found it (after years of not seeing it anywhere online)...

found it on some site called "frik-n-frak's curio shop"
posted by mark7570 at 2:22 PM on August 25, 2005

I do remember this. The code was a Gray code, named after the creator of color television IIRC. With that in mind it was easy to find online. (Which on preview, I see you've done.)
posted by Aknaton at 2:43 PM on August 25, 2005

I had this back in the mid '70s, and figured it out to the extent that I could have 8 fingers on the rods and solve it lightning-fast. I actually disassembled the thing and lightly oiled it so I could manipulate the rods at top speed.

Although I didn't know that the sequence was called the Gray Code, I did suss that it was a regular progression and made the connection between the solution moves and binary-to-decimal conversion. Then I disassembled it again and studied the series of slots in the underlying discs and gained quite a bit of insight on the mechanical representation of binary numeric systems.

Yes, I was a geek before it was cool. Probably after, too.
posted by Aquaman at 4:21 PM on August 25, 2005

« Older I need a portal / groupware or CMS solution   |   How do I clean my stinky shoes? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.