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The abacus, also called a counting frame, is a calculating tool that was in use in the ancient Near East, Europe, China, and Russia, centuries before the adoption of the written Hindu–Arabic numeral system. The exact origin of the abacus is still unknown. Today, abacuses are often constructed as a bamboo frame with beads sliding on wires, but originally they were beans or stones moved in grooves of sand or on tablets of wood, stone, or metal. Abacuses come in different designs. Some designs, like the bead frame consisting of beads divided into tens, are used mainly to teach arithmetic, although they remain popular in the post-Soviet states as a tool. Other designs, such as the Japanese soroban, have been used for practical calculations even involving several digits.