Astrolabe: "world's first popular computer"

Author and software designer Tom Wujec takes a step back in time to discuss the medieval astrolabe. The video and transcript of the discussion is available on the TED website.

Wujec, a "practitioner of business visualization," looks at how the astrolabe was the must-have device of the 13th century. From the article:

How would you tell the time, say, 600 years ago? How would you do it? Well, the way you would do it is by using a device that's called an astrolabe. So, an astrolabe is relatively unknown in today's world. But, at the time, in the 13th century, it was the gadget of the day. It was the world's first popular computer.