The jacquard loom was invented in the early 1800's controlled by punch cards. It was used as an example for the first computer. Today's jacquard looms are now controlled by computers. You load an image (which has been edited on photoshop) on to the jacquard software and the loom will weave that picture for you.
One of the tech's at school has a jacquard loom and we were lucky enough to weave on it this semester. I chose to do an anatomical heart. I just have some progress shots so far, but they are still really interesting.
At the top of the picture you can see the heart starting to show in the weaving. All of the threads on the left are controlled individually by the computer. (you can see the heddles, where the threads are attached to the computer, in the next picture)
In the above picture, all of the vertical metal pieces (behind the two girls) are heddles which are about 1/4" thick and are threaded with yarn one by one to control the pattern. As you press the foot peddle the computer tells the jacquard loom which ones to lift up to create the pattern. The operator, ie. the weaver, then "throws" a bobbin of yarn through the lifted yarn to weave the cloth.
(a lot to explain in such a little post, I hope it's coming across alright)