The Indian EVM achieves similar results with a $230 piece that has assembly level code written and burnt into a circuit board.
Here is a wonderful analysis of the two systems
That reminds me of the famous urban legend of how Americans after years of costly research came up with a pen that could write in the micro-gravity environment of space. The Russians just decided to use pencil. Doing it the hard way is not always the sanest thing to do at times.