In Pictures: Pocket marvels - 40 years of handheld computers

From the first pocket scientific calculator through '80s organisers to today's tablets, check out 15 ingenious devices that have driven the handheld computing revolution.

Bonus: Napier's bones

Forty years is the blink of an eye to the granddaddy of handheld computing: Napier's bones. Developed in 1617 by John Napier, the Bones were ten rods of wood, bone or ivory with a matrix of numbers carved into them, slotted neatly into a handheld frame. By rotating the rods, pioneering geeks performed multiplication, division and even the extraction of square roots.

True, slide rules and log tables overtook the Bones within a few years, but Napier's mighty rods of math were the first and the coolest by far.

Matt Lake is a nonfiction writer and technical services coordinator. He first reverse-engineered a calculation to get the result .07734 in the 1970s, and he's not looked back since.

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