Thursday 18th September 2014


The Literary Platform Twitter Feed Tweet This

Lovelace and Babbage

Neil Hopkins

iPad app   

Features: Visual comic book style iPad app, links out to factual material

Production credits: Agant Ltd

Launch date: 11th October 2011

Agant Ltd

Sydney Padua (Lovelace & Babbage)

Neil Hopkins tries out the latest version of the interactive comic app created by Sydney Padua.

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was a remarkable woman. She was educated in mathematics from an early age in attempt to counteract the ‘poetical tendencies’ that she might have inherited from her absent father, the mad, bad and dangerous Lord Byron. However, it was when she saw a demonstration of a calculating machine built by Charles Babbage that she made a conceptual leap of startling import and realised that such a device could manipulate symbols as well as numbers and thus be programmed as a general purpose computer.

Her vision was not to be realised for more than a century, but it is no exaggeration to say that Ada Lovelace (as she is more commonly known) was the world’s first computer scientist.

Graphic artist Sydney Padua has recounted the story of Lovelace and Babbage, originally as a short web comic in celebration of Ada Lovelace Day and now as an iPad app. Starting with true historical facts, it soon spins off into a baroque steam punk fantasy; an alternate history where the duo managed to build their steam-powered computing engine and went on to… FIGHT CRIME!

The app is free and features the original web comic with the option to buy an additional story for £1.99 as an in-app purchase. The artwork is crisp and effective, and translates well to the iPad screen. The script is amusing and informative, too, and well pitched for the subject. However, the app really springs to life when you turn your iPad into landscape mode.

Each panel is annotated with notes from the author and links to further sources of information including scans of original documents, historical asides (apparently Babbage hated street music) and a marvellous video of a replica difference engine in action. Of particular interest is a copy of the very first computer program, written by Ada Lovelace for a machine that existed only as blueprints and models. It is like watching a DVD with the director’s commentary switched on and a copy of their research notebooks to hand.

This app is an essential download for anyone with more than a passing interest in mathematics, computing, steam punk or the achievements of great scientists.


Agant Ltd

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


  • The Literary Platform RSS feed The Literary Platform Facebook Fan Page The Literary Platform Twitter Feed The Literary Platform LinkedIn Profile The Literary Platform Google Plus account Contact The Literary Platform by email


The Literary Platform magazine covers current thinking about books and technology and innovative projects that blend the two. TLP Collective also works across both sectors to deliver interesting digital projects - visit

  • Read about the Literary Platform here »
  • Contact the Literary Platform here »

Join our mailing list for regular updates:



Digital Women UK turns One

Digital Women UK is celebrating its first anniversary by hosting a dynamic one day programme of activities on social media, technology and the arts for women who are, or who want to get, connected online.

Doodle Jump Comics Debut on Me Books app

The hugely successful mobile game Doodle Jump is to make its digital comic book debut via the Me Books platform.

Resonance 104.4fm Announces A Major Commitment To Books Coverage

Tony White, author and chair of the board of directors ofResonance104.4fm, London’s award-winning arts radio station, today confirmed a sustained commitment to regular books programming across the Resonance104.4fm schedules, in advance of Resonance’s special live broadcast of Jerwood Fiction Uncovered FM on 13 July.