**Background**

For the sake of familiarity with the abacus and flash anzan, the world record employing this technique **for 3 digit addition is 15 sets of 3 digit numbers in 1.66 seconds**. Currently all mental calculator ‘records’ seem to employ this technique for the standard arithmetic.

The principle is that you visualise an abacus and do the addition , subtraction, multiplication and division with this abacus.

The arguments scientists put out besides being bewildered is that it must be faster than the usual method of adding numbers because you do not need to say the numbers, which brings me the question. If you do not say the numbers but still visually add the digits as numbers in your head why would it be slower than the imagery abacus.

Some arguments about subitizing and alike are made, but when you visually see numbers in your head there isn’t so much of a draw back.

Yet the abacus is still the sole record setting device/technique.

**My motivation for this**

If it is true that the visual abacus is indeed faster than visually manipulating numbers and so without having ‘more effective methods’, this becomes a new thing to aid any kind of ability really: The creation of imagery devices.

If the reverse turns out to be true this then implies that having shorter chains can be more effective for speed, which can help optimise existing memory techniques or learning in general.

**The question**

Does anyone have any ideas as to why it would or wouldn’t be faster? Perhaps any read research on this kind of debate?