[Tom Wujec] explains how an astrolabe works and its importance in our technological development. He argues that an astrolabe was the world’s first “popular computer”. It measures the sky and that measurement can be used to tell time, survey land, and navigate a ship.
Astrolabes are built from three pieces and according to [Tom], educated children in the 1200′s would not just have been able to use one, but could build one as well. Electronics have certainly made our lives easier, but there’s something powerful about such a useful yet simple device.