Discover how computers work

See how simple switches, connected together in clever ways, can do incredibly smart things.

Build marble-powered computers

Turing Tumble is a revolutionary new game where players (ages 8 to adult) build mechanical computers powered by marbles to solve logic puzzles. It’s fun, addicting, and while you’re at it, you discover how computers work.

Discover how computers work

Computers are full of ingenious logic and astonishing creativity. They're everywhere, but most of us don't understand how they work.

With Turing Tumble, you can see for yourself how computers work: The logic isn’t hidden inside a computer chip, it’s right there in front of you.

Hands on, screen off

Have a blast learning to code in a language without words. Turing Tumble blurs the line between coding and building machinery. There's no syntax to learn, no abstraction, and no electronics at all.

Great for educators

Kids learn best when they use their senses to explore new concepts. Turing Tumble teaches coding strategy as well as abstract concepts like binary, binary operations, and logic gates in a fun, tangible way. See edu.turingtumble.com for more.

How it Works

Use the buttons below to watch the computer in action.

Touch the arrows to step through it running.

Click the arrows to step through it running.

The Parts

Build computers with six different types of parts.

Ramps

Directs balls in one direction, either to the left or to the right.

Crossovers

Lets ball paths cross over one another. Balls come in one side and exit on the opposite side.

Bits

The bit adds logic. It stores information by pointing to the right or to the left, like a 1 or 0.

Interceptors

When the computer’s objective is complete, the interceptor is used to stop the computer from releasing any more balls.

Gears and Gear Bits

The gear bits are mind-bending, but they add a whole new level of functionality. They also make the computer Turing-complete, which means that if the board were big enough, it could do anything a regular computer can do (in theory!).

System Configuration

Turing Tumble comes with enough parts to build some impressive machines.

Includes:

  • Computer board
  • Computer stand
  • 30 Ramps
  • 10 Bits
  • 8 Gear bits
  • 6 Crossovers
  • 4 Gears
  • 3 Interceptors
  • 1 Presser
  • Puzzle/comic book with 60 puzzles
  • 20 Red marbles
  • 20 Blue marbles
  • 30 Counterweights

The Puzzle/Comic Book

60 puzzles are woven into a comic story where each puzzle brings Alia the space engineer closer to rescue from a forgotten planet.

How to Play

Easy to learn, hard to stop.

Select a puzzle

The goal of each puzzle is to build a computer that completes an objective. For example, below is challenge #1. The objective of this puzzle is to make all of the blue balls (and only the blue balls) reach the end.

Build the starting setup

Many of the puzzles require parts to be placed in certain positions to begin. For this puzzle, the starting setup looks like this once built:

Plan your solution

Your job is to figure out where to put the "Available parts" in order to complete the objective. It tells you that you have four green ramps...but where should you put them?

Here's what happens when you run it with just the starting setup:

Build and run your computer

To solve this puzzle, you must place the four ramps in such a way that they complete the path from the top of the board to the bottom of the board.

Here it is running:

What else can it do?

The only limit is the size of the board.

The Turing Tumble mechanical computer can do all sorts of things. It can:

  • count
  • add
  • subtract
  • multiply
  • divide
  • compare numbers
  • it can do logic
  • it can create patterns
  • and much, much more...

Example #1: A simple pattern

This computer is the solution to a puzzle where the objective is to create a computer that makes the pattern blue, blue, blue, red, blue, blue, blue, red...

Example #2: Counting in binary

When you reach puzzle 21, binary numbers are introduced into the puzzles. In the following picture, a number is represented by four bits. To read the number from the bits, all you have to know is that the top bit is worth 1, the second bit down is worth 2, the third bit is worth 4, and the fourth bit is worth 8. Simply add together the values of the bits that are pointed right. For example,

Now, here’s a computer that counts up to 8 in binary. You can ignore the other parts, just watch those four bits.

Example #3: Addition

Puzzle 37 introduces addition. The computer for this example contains two numbers: a 3-bit number on the left (which starts at a value of 5) and a 4-bit number on the right (which starts at a value of 6). When the computer runs, it adds the two numbers together and then stores the sum (5 + 6 = 11) in the number on the right.

Example #4: A more complicated pattern

Here's one of the more difficult puzzles. The goal of this puzzle is to create a pattern that starts with a group of 2 blue balls, then a group of 4 blue balls, and then a group of 8 blue balls, with each group separated by a single red ball.

Turing Tumble EDU

Turing Tumble is great for classrooms.

Are you a teacher or parent interested in learning how to use Turing Tumble to teach math and computer science concepts? This is what gets us going. We want to help!

At edu.turingtumble.com we have materials available to help you use Turing Tumble to teach specific concepts.