So following part one we now know how to count in binary. So the next step is to convert the binary numbers we had in the first part into decimal numbers.
I created a little helper below where we can either count up until we reach the value, or by checking each of required check boxes to set the bits to either on or off. So for example if you wanted to find the value of 01001100 you would set the check boxes to:
This should give you a decimal value of 76.
Now try to find the decimal values for each of the binary numbers above:
We should now have the following decimal value:
Now these numbers (either in decimal or binary) could represent anything. But there is a way to represent letters using numbers like this called ASCII encoding. Each number between 0 and 127 in ASCII represent either an uppercase letter, lowercase letter, a number (0-9) or a punctuation symbols. In addition to there are 33 symbols that can’t be displayed as they represent commands like a tab or new line.
I have updated the converter below to show you the ASCII representation of the number. (Most of the character between 0 and 32 are command characters (like tab) and are shown as an empty box). Alternatively, you can have a look at an ASCII table that shows you how to go from the number to the ASCII code.
Now see what letters ae represented by our binary numbers:
This should give the answer of LEGO. It makes sense that the minifigure from part one should have LEGO written in binary on her top.
In reality a binary number could represent anything, but it’s down to the computer programmer to decide how these ones and zeros should be translated into something useful. The binary could represent:
- Commands for the computer to do (e.g. save something, or add two values together)
- and many more possible things
In this post we have seen how we can translate binary numbers using Ascii encoding into letters we can read.
There are other ways of translating binary into letters, for example UTF8 is a very clever way of encoding characters. Tom Scott explains this brilliantly in his YouTube video below:
In our next post we show a way of representing an image in binary