Tim Bennett's "Abacus Tutor"
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EZ Abacus Tutor

    The EZ Abacus Tutor is an computer-driven easy way to learn how to use an abacus.  The mechanism hooks up to your computer and is controlled by the included software.  The software explains to you how to use the abacus onscreen while it demonstrates on the mechanized abacus.  You can follow along on the second, included abacus (conveniently located in the easy-storage slot of the mechanism).  The software teaches you addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using the abacus.  These lessons are customizable:  you can choose specifically what you want to learn at each session, you can let the computer choose based on your previous performance, or you can start off  with the “basics” if you are a beginner.  If you are having difficulty with a specific problem, you can have the computer walk you through it step by step.  The program will test you at the end of each session, and will review on occasion, as desired.
    The EZ Abacus Tutor is constructed of quality wood with a red oak finish.  The inner mechanisms are sealed off with Plexiglas™ to make it safe for children (so they can’t get their hands caught in the mechanisms), and you can easily watch the abacus work.

How It Works:

 The abacus uses a pair of printer mechanisms:  one on top and perpendicular to the other.  On top of the upper mechanism is a solenoid, which activated the mechanical finger that moves the beads.  The actual abacus lays flat on top of four posts, with the mechanisms that control it underneath it.  The “student” abacus sits in a slot behind the mechanized one.