Machine turns itself off, that’s it…

Onoff 4.Jpg “The Most Beautiful Machine” is an idea of Claude E. Shannon, who died in 2001. His “Mathematical Theory of Communication” is the fundament of the digital machine. It’s a communication based on the functions ON and OFF. In this special case the observers are supposed to push the ON button. After a while the lid of the trunk opens, a hand comes out and turns off the machine. The trunk closes – that’s it!. [via] Link.

0 thoughts on “Machine turns itself off, that’s it…

  1. Do you know of a toy version of the ultimate machine that was popular in the 1950s? It was a skeleton hand that came out of the box and turned the switch off…it was a novelty item. I am trying to find the name and a picture of it.

  2. I do remember the commercial toy.
    I tried contacting the successors to the Johnson-Smith novelty catalog without much luck.
    A large academic research library, with collections of ephemera, might have Johnson-Smith and other catalogs from the appropriate period. A couple of sources, e.g.
    http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/full/159/3/915 recall seeing Shannon demonstrate the UM on TV in the 50’s.
    A kinescope of that would be priceless. If the Museum of Broadcasting has detailed archival material on likely shows, such as Garry Moore’s “I’ve Got a Secret”, that would also be worth some research.

  3. I have a dim childhood memory of this device and have been looking for it for years without success. But I recently saw it again: on a rerun of an old TV show from the 60s – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”.

    http://video.aol.com/video/tv-the-man-from-uncle-the-finny-foot-affair/1738751

    In this episode (Season 1, Episode 10), a young Kurt Russell plays a boy who has a novelty version of the machine, made out of black plastic with a large metal toggle switch to activate the mechanism. It appears in Act 1 and again in Act 3, where it is used as a distraction to thwart the bad guys.

    If anyone out there discovers or recreates one of these gadgets, please contact me via my website, http://www.cartania.com.

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