“Abacus” is a term used for a primitive device, which made use of fingers of both hands for doing arithmetic calculations. The Abacus instrument was needed by merchants to calculate the cost of their trades in countries like China, Japan, Korea, Thailand etc.
The evolvement in the structure of Abacus can be divided into 3 stages namely: Primitive age, Ancient age and the Modern age.
1. Primitive Age
The primitive Abacus initially had horizontal alignment when it was invented. Stones and pebbles were used as beads. The use of stones added to the weight of the abacus, limiting its mobility and often results in losing the track of the counts. Due to these complexities the number and size of beads were reduced over a period.
2. Middle Age
The ancient Abacus was restructured by Sumerian, Babylonian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Greek, Egyptian and Roman civilizations during different ages. Therefore, Abacus has faced changes in its structure according to different cultures. Two of the most popularly known Abacus of this age are Suan Pan (Chinese) and Soroban (Japanese).
3. Modern Age
The modern day Abacus is, a frame made up of either wood or metal, with vertical alignment of rods in which the bead move while performing calculations. Soroban, the most recent Abacus modified by Japanese is the one we make use of today. There are 17 vertical rods. The frame is divided into 2 decks: the upper deck and lower deck. The upper deck has 1 bead on each rod, and the lower deck constitutes 4 beads in a single rod. Even the modern day computer uses references from Abacus for performing calculations.
The Abacus today, is used as a device that enhances the complete brain development also resulting into improved mental arithmetic skills. Join Master Mind, an Abacus training institute to develop your mental maths skills.