So I've been tossing some ideas around in the irc channel, and I got some positive feedback for one of them. Basically it's a several thousand year old calculator, discovered buried in the sand in the middle east. the calculator itself is rather large, about three meters tall. I was thinking it would be cubical, but I was told geometric shapes are cliche so I'm not sure exactly what it will look like. On the front face of the machine, there are two dials, a lever, and a display device (most likely similar to split-flap displays, or maybe something like an abacus). On the right side of the machine is a large crank, that winds up a spring inside the machine. After winding the crank, you can spin the first dial, that has symbols on it that correspond to numbers. The symbols themselves don't match those of any known civilizations, though they are very simple and intuitive. For instance, the one symbol is one dot and the five symbol is five dots. The other dial has four symbols, though they're more abstract. They correspond to the mathematical processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. To use the machine, one must turn the first dial to the first digit of the number they desire. So, if you wanted to punch in 28, you would first put two. Then you pull the lever, enter the second digit and pull the lever again. This is repeated until the whole number is entered. Next, you turn the second dial to the process you want, and pull the lever. After that, you go to the first dial again, and put in the second number, and pull the lever.

I know it's complicated, so think of it this way. If you wanted to put in 2+2, you would turn the first dial to two and pull the lever. Next, you would turn the second dial to the symbol for addition, and pull the lever. Finally, you would go back to the first dial, turn it to two again, and pull the lever again.

After you put in all the numbers and processes, the lever is pulled one more time. At this point, the machine begins calculating. Several sounds can be heard coming from the machine, they are usually described as mechanical, sometimes a high pitch whining can be heard. After a variable amount of time, anywhere from 30 seconds to a few hours, the sounds will cease, and the display begins functioning. The display will show the answer of the problem using the same symbols found on the first dial. The display cannot show decimals so the answer will always be rounded up.

After operating the calculator, the user will find it harder to concentrate, and solve math problems in their head. The more they use the machine, the harder they find it to solve problems. Eventually they can only solve problems on their fingers. If they continue to use the machine, they'll find this impossible as well. Eventually, even the simplest problems are impossible to solve. The user also finds it impossible to use modern calculators, instead they insist on using the machine.

So, what do you think? Is it doable? Should I just give up?