An automaton ( // ; plural: automata or automatons) is a self-operating machine, or a machine or control mechanism designed to automatically follow a predetermined sequence of operations, or respond to predetermined instructions. Some automata, such as bellstrikers in mechanical clocks, are designed to give the illusion to the casual observer that they are operating under their own power.
A machine is a mechanical structure that uses power to apply forces and control movement to perform an intended action. Machines can be driven by animals and people, by natural forces such as wind and water, and by chemical, thermal, or electrical power, and include a system of mechanisms that shape the actuator input to achieve a specific application of output forces and movement. They can also include computers and sensors that monitor performance and plan movement, often called mechanical systems.
A jacquemart is an automaton, an animated, mechanised figure of a person, usually made from wood or metal, which strikes the hours on a bell with a hammer. Jacquemarts are usually part of clocks or clocktowers, and are often near or at the top of the construction. The figurine is also known as Jack of the Clock or Jack o'Clock.
The word "automaton" is the latinization of the Greek αὐτόματον, automaton, (neuter) "acting of one's own will". This word was first used by Homer to describe automatic door opening, or automatic movement of wheeled tripods. It is more often used to describe non-electronic moving machines, especially those that have been made to resemble human or animal actions, such as the jacks on old public striking clocks, or the cuckoo and any other animated figures on a cuckoo clock.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Homer is the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature. The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek kingdoms. It focuses on a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles lasting a few weeks during the last year of the war. The Odyssey focuses on the ten-year journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy. Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary.
A clock is an instrument used to measure, keep, and indicate time. The clock is one of the oldest human inventions, meeting the need to measure intervals of time shorter than the natural units: the day, the lunar month, and the year. Devices operating on several physical processes have been used over the millennia.
There are many examples of automata in Greek mythology: Hephaestus created automata for his workshop;Talos was an artificial man of bronze; Daedalus used quicksilver to install voice in his moving statues; King Alkinous of the Phaiakians employed gold and silver watchdogs.
Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures, and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.
Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths, metalworking, carpenters, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metallurgy, fire, and volcanoes. Hephaestus' Roman equivalent is Vulcan. In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was either the son of Zeus and Hera or he was Hera's parthenogenous child. He was cast off Mount Olympus, by his mother because of his deformity or, in another account, by Zeus for protecting Hera from his advances.
In Greek mythology, Talos, also spelled Talus or Talon, was a giant automaton made of bronze to protect Europa in Crete from pirates and invaders. He circled the island's shores three times daily.
The automata in the Hellenistic world were intended as tools, toys, religious idols, or prototypes for demonstrating basic scientific principles. Numerous water powered automata were built by Ktesibios, a Greek inventor and the first head of the Great Library of Alexandria, for example he "used water to sound a whistle and make a model owl move. He had invented the world's first "cuckoo" clock".This tradition continued in Alexandria with inventors such as the Greek mathematician Hero of Alexandria (sometimes known as Heron), whose writings on hydraulics, pneumatics, and mechanics described siphons, a fire engine, a water organ, the aeolipile, and a programmable cart.
Greek mathematics refers to mathematics texts and advances written in Greek, developed from the 7th century BC to the 4th century AD around the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean. Greek mathematicians lived in cities spread over the entire Eastern Mediterranean from Italy to North Africa but were united by culture and language. Greek mathematics of the period following Alexander the Great is sometimes called Hellenistic mathematics. The word "mathematics" itself derives from the Ancient Greek: μάθημα, romanized: máthēmaAttic Greek: [má.tʰɛː.ma]Koine Greek: [ˈma.θi.ma], meaning "subject of instruction". The study of mathematics for its own sake and the use of generalized mathematical theories and proofs is the key difference between Greek mathematics and those of preceding civilizations.
Hero of Alexandria was a mathematician and engineer who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt. He is considered the greatest experimenter of antiquity and his work is representative of the Hellenistic scientific tradition.
Hydraulics is a technology and applied science using engineering, chemistry, and other sciences involving the mechanical properties and use of liquids. At a very basic level, hydraulics is the liquid counterpart of pneumatics, which concerns gases. Fluid mechanics provides the theoretical foundation for hydraulics, which focuses on the applied engineering using the properties of fluids. In its fluid power applications, hydraulics is used for the generation, control, and transmission of power by the use of pressurized liquids. Hydraulic topics range through some parts of science and most of engineering modules, and cover concepts such as pipe flow, dam design, fluidics and fluid control circuitry. The principles of hydraulics are in use naturally in the human body within the vascular system and erectile tissue. Free surface hydraulics is the branch of hydraulics dealing with free surface flow, such as occurring in rivers, canals, lakes, estuaries and seas. Its sub-field open-channel flow studies the flow in open channels.
Complex mechanical devices are known to have existed in Hellenistic Greece, though the only surviving example is the Antikythera mechanism, the earliest known analog computer.It is thought to have come originally from Rhodes, where there was apparently a tradition of mechanical engineering; the island was renowned for its automata; to quote Pindar's seventh Olympic Ode:
The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance. It could also be used to track the four-year cycle of athletic games which was similar to an Olympiad, the cycle of the ancient Olympic Games.
An analog computer or analogue computer is a type of computer that uses the continuously changeable aspects of physical phenomena such as electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved. In contrast, digital computers represent varying quantities symbolically, as their numerical values change. As an analog computer does not use discrete values, but rather continuous values, processes cannot be reliably repeated with exact equivalence, as they can with Turing machines. Unlike machines used for digital signal processing, analog computers do not suffer from the discrete error caused by quantization noise. Instead, results from analog computers are subject to continuous error caused by electronic noise.
Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands of Greece and is also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes regional unit, which is part of the South Aegean administrative region. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Rhodes. The city of Rhodes had 50,636 inhabitants in 2011. It is located northeast of Crete, southeast of Athens and just off the Anatolian coast of Turkey. Rhodes' nickname is The island of the Knights, named after the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, who once conquered the land.
However, the information gleaned from recent scans of the fragments indicate that it may have come from the colonies of Corinth in Sicily and implies a connection with Archimedes.
Corinth is an ancient city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, which is located in south-central Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality of Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. It is the capital of Corinthia.
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands, officially referred to as Regione Siciliana.
Archimedes of Syracuse was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Generally considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time, Archimedes anticipated modern calculus and analysis by applying concepts of infinitesimals and the method of exhaustion to derive and rigorously prove a range of geometrical theorems, including the area of a circle, the surface area and volume of a sphere, and the area under a parabola.
According to Jewish legend, Solomon used his wisdom to design a throne with mechanical animals which hailed him as king when he ascended it; upon sitting down an eagle would place a crown upon his head, and a dove would bring him a Torah scroll. It is also said that when King Solomon stepped upon the throne, a mechanism was set in motion. As soon as he stepped upon the first step, a golden ox and a golden lion each stretched out one foot to support him and help him rise to the next step. On each side, the animals helped the King up until he was comfortably seated upon the throne.
In ancient China, a curious account of automata is found in the Lie Zi text, written in the 3rd century BC. Within it there is a description of a much earlier encounter between King Mu of Zhou (1023-957 BC) and a mechanical engineer known as Yan Shi, an 'artificer'. The latter proudly presented the king with a life-size, human-shaped figure of his mechanical handiwork:
The king stared at the figure in astonishment. It walked with rapid strides, moving its head up and down, so that anyone would have taken it for a live human being. The artificer touched its chin, and it began singing, perfectly in tune. He touched its hand, and it began posturing, keeping perfect time...As the performance was drawing to an end, the robot winked its eye and made advances to the ladies in attendance, whereupon the king became incensed and would have had Yen Shih [Yan Shi] executed on the spot had not the latter, in mortal fear, instantly taken the robot to pieces to let him see what it really was. And, indeed, it turned out to be only a construction of leather, wood, glue and lacquer, variously coloured white, black, red and blue. Examining it closely, the king found all the internal organs complete—liver, gall, heart, lungs, spleen, kidneys, stomach and intestines; and over these again, muscles, bones and limbs with their joints, skin, teeth and hair, all of them artificial...The king tried the effect of taking away the heart, and found that the mouth could no longer speak; he took away the liver and the eyes could no longer see; he took away the kidneys and the legs lost their power of locomotion. The king was delighted.
Other notable examples of automata include Archytas's dove, mentioned by Aulus Gellius.Similar Chinese accounts of flying automata are written of the 5th century BC Mohist philosopher Mozi and his contemporary Lu Ban, who made artificial wooden birds (ma yuan) that could successfully fly according to the Han Fei Zi and other texts.
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The manufacturing tradition of automata continued in the Greek world well into the Middle Ages. On his visit to Constantinople in 949 ambassador Liutprand of Cremona described automata in the emperor Theophilos' palace, including
"lions, made either of bronze or wood covered with gold, which struck the ground with their tails and roared with open mouth and quivering tongue," "a tree of gilded bronze, its branches filled with birds, likewise made of bronze gilded over, and these emitted cries appropriate to their species" and "the emperor's throne" itself, which "was made in such a cunning manner that at one moment it was down on the ground, while at another it rose higher and was to be seen up in the air."
Similar automata in the throne room (singing birds, roaring and moving lions) were described by Luitprand's contemporary, the Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, in his book Περὶ τῆς Βασιλείου Τάξεως .
In the mid-8th century, the first wind powered automata were built: "statues that turned with the wind over the domes of the four gates and the palace complex of the Round City of Baghdad". The "public spectacle of wind-powered statues had its private counterpart in the 'Abbasid palaces where automata of various types were predominantly displayed." [ page needed ] The Abbasid caliph al-Muqtadir also had a silver and golden tree in his palace in Baghdad in 917, with birds on it flapping their wings and singing. In the 9th century, the Banū Mūsā brothers invented a programmable automatic flute player and which they described in their Book of Ingenious Devices .Also in the 8th century, the Muslim alchemist, Jābir ibn Hayyān (Geber), included recipes for constructing artificial snakes, scorpions, and humans that would be subject to their creator's control in his coded Book of Stones. In 827, Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun had a silver and golden tree in his palace in Baghdad, which had the features of an automatic machine. There were metal birds that sang automatically on the swinging branches of this tree built by Muslim inventors and engineers.
Al-Jazari described complex programmable humanoid automata amongst other machines he designed and constructed in the Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices in 1206.[ citation needed ] His automaton was a boat with four automatic musicians that floated on a lake to entertain guests at royal drinking parties. His mechanism had a programmable drum machine with pegs (cams) that bump into little levers that operate the percussion. The drummer could be made to play different rhythms and drum patterns if the pegs were moved around. According to Charles B. Fowler, the automata were a "robot band" which performed "more than fifty facial and body actions during each musical selection."
Al-Jazari constructed a hand washing automaton first employing the flush mechanism now used in modern toilets. It features a female automaton standing by a basin filled with water. When the user pulls the lever, the water drains and the automaton refills the basin.His "peacock fountain" was another more sophisticated hand washing device featuring humanoid automata as servants who offer soap and towels. Mark E. Rosheim describes it as follows: "Pulling a plug on the peacock's tail releases water out of the beak; as the dirty water from the basin fills the hollow base a float rises and actuates a linkage which makes a servant figure appear from behind a door under the peacock and offer soap. When more water is used, a second float at a higher level trips and causes the appearance of a second servant figure — with a towel!" Al-Jazari thus appears to have been the first inventor to display an interest in creating human-like machines for practical purposes such as manipulating the environment for human comfort.
Samarangana Sutradhara , a Sanskrit treatise by Bhoja (11th century), includes a chapter about the construction of mechanical contrivances (automata), including mechanical bees and birds, fountains shaped like humans and animals, and male and female dolls that refilled oil lamps, danced, played instruments, and re-enacted scenes from Hindu mythology.
Villard de Honnecourt, in his 1230s sketchbook, show plans for animal automata and an angel that perpetually turns to face the sun. At the end of the thirteenth century, Robert II, Count of Artois built a pleasure garden at his castle at Hesdin that incorporated several automata as entertainment in the walled park. The work was conducted by local workmen and overseen by the Italian knight Renaud Coignet. It included monkey marionettes, a sundial supported by lions and "wild men", mechanized birds, mechanized fountains and a bellows-operated organ. The park was famed for its automata well into the fifteenth century before it was destroyed by English soldiers in the sixteenth.
The Chinese author Xiao Xun wrote that when the Ming Dynasty founder Hongwu (r. 1368–1398) was destroying the palaces of Khanbaliq belonging to the previous Yuan Dynasty, there were—among many other mechanical devices—automata found that were in the shape of tigers.
The Renaissance witnessed a considerable revival of interest in automata. Hero's treatises were edited and translated into Latin and Italian. Giovanni Fontana created mechanical devils and rocket-propelled animal automata. Numerous clockwork automata were manufactured in the 16th century, principally by the goldsmiths of the Free Imperial Cities of central Europe. These wondrous devices found a home in the cabinet of curiosities or Wunderkammern of the princely courts of Europe. Hydraulic and pneumatic automata, similar to those described by Hero, were created for garden grottoes.
Leonardo da Vinci sketched a more complex automaton around the year 1495. The design of Leonardo's robot was not rediscovered until the 1950s. The robot could, if built successfully, move its arms, twist its head, and sit up.
The Smithsonian Institution has in its collection a clockwork monk, about 15 in (380 mm) high, possibly dating as early as 1560. The monk is driven by a key-wound spring and walks the path of a square, striking his chest with his right arm, while raising and lowering a small wooden cross and rosary in his left hand, turning and nodding his head, rolling his eyes, and mouthing silent obsequies. From time to time, he brings the cross to his lips and kisses it. It is believed that the monk was manufactured by Juanelo Turriano, mechanician to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
A new attitude towards automata is to be found in Descartes when he suggested that the bodies of animals are nothing more than complex machines - the bones, muscles and organs could be replaced with cogs, pistons and cams. Thus mechanism became the standard to which Nature and the organism was compared.France in the 17th century was the birthplace of those ingenious mechanical toys that were to become prototypes for the engines of the Industrial Revolution. Thus, in 1649, when Louis XIV was still a child, an artisan named Camus designed for him a miniature coach, and horses complete with footmen, page and a lady within the coach; all these figures exhibited a perfect movement. According to P. Labat, General de Gennes constructed, in 1688, in addition to machines for gunnery and navigation, a peacock that walked and ate. Athanasius Kircher produced many automata to create Jesuit shows, including a statue which spoke and listened via a speaking tube.
The world's first successfully-built biomechanical automaton is considered to be The Flute Player, invented by the French engineer Jacques de Vaucanson in 1737. He also constructed the Digesting Duck, a mechanical duck that gave the false illusion of eating and defecating, seeming to endorse Cartesian ideas that animals are no more than machines of flesh.
In 1769, a chess-playing machine called the Turk, created by Wolfgang von Kempelen, made the rounds of the courts of Europe purporting to be an automaton. The Turk was operated from inside by a hidden human director, and was not a true automaton.
Other 18th century automaton makers include the prolific Swiss Pierre Jaquet-Droz (see Jaquet-Droz automata) and his contemporary Henri Maillardet. Maillardet, a Swiss mechanic, created an automaton capable of drawing four pictures and writing three poems. Maillardet's Automaton is now part of the collections at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia. Belgian-born John Joseph Merlin created the mechanism of the Silver Swan automaton, now at Bowes Museum.A musical elephant made by the French clockmaker Hubert Martinet in 1774 is one of the highlights of Waddesdon Manor. Tipu's Tiger is another late-18th century example of automata, made for Tipu Sultan, featuring a European soldier being mauled by a tiger.
According to philosopher Michel Foucault, Frederick the Great, king of Prussia from 1740 to 1786, was "obsessed" with automata.According to Manuel de Landa, "he put together his armies as a well-oiled clockwork mechanism whose components were robot-like warriors".
Japan adopted automata during the Edo period (1603–1867); they were known as karakuri ningyō .
Automata, particularly watches and clocks, were popular in China during the 18th and 19th centuries, and items were produced for the Chinese market. Strong interest by Chinese collectors in the 21st century brought many interesting items to market where they have had dramatic realizations.
The famous magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805–1871) was known for creating automata for his stage shows.
In 1840, Italian inventor Innocenzo Manzetti constructed a flute-playing automaton, in the shape of a man, life-size, seated on a chair. Hidden inside the chair were levers, connecting rods and compressed air tubes, which made the automaton's lips and fingers move on the flute according to a program recorded on a cylinder similar to those used in player pianos. The automaton was powered by clockwork and could perform 12 different arias. As part of the performance it would rise from the chair, bow its head, and roll its eyes.
The period 1860 to 1910 is known as "The Golden Age of Automata". During this period many small family based companies of Automata makers thrived in Paris. From their workshops they exported thousands of clockwork automata and mechanical singing birds around the world. It is these French automata that are collected today, although now rare and expensive they attract collectors worldwide. The main French makers were Bontems, Lambert, Phalibois, Renou, Roullet & Decamps, Theroude and Vichy.
Contemporary automata continue this tradition with an emphasis on art, rather than technological sophistication. Contemporary automata are represented by the works of Cabaret Mechanical Theatre in the United Kingdom, Dug North and Chomick+Meder,Thomas Kuntz, Arthur Ganson, Joe Jones in the United States, Le Défenseur du Temps by French artist Jacques Monestier, and François Junod in Switzerland.
Some mechanized toys developed during the 18th and 19th centuries were automata made with paper. Despite the relative simplicity of the material, paper automata require a high degree of technical ingenuity.
One of the most advanced automata proposed to date is NASA's Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments (AREE), a wind-powered automaton to be used for exploring Venus. Unlike other modern automata, AREE is an automaton instead of a robot for practical reasons — Venus's harsh conditions, particularly its surface temperature of 462 °C (864 °F), make operating electronics there impossible.
The potential educational value of mechanical toys in teaching transversal skills has been recognised by the European Union education project Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction (CLOHE).
Examples of automaton clocks include Chariot clock and Cuckoo Clocks. The Cuckooland Museum exhibits autonomous clocks.
The earliest known analog computing device is the Antikythera mechanism.
Mechanical curiosities were all the rage in China during the 18th and 19th centuries, as the Qing emperors developed a passion for automaton clocks and pocket watches, and the "Sing Song Merchants", as European watchmakers were called, were more than happy to encourage that interest.
A robot is a machine—especially one programmable by a computer— capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. Robots can be guided by an external control device or the control may be embedded within. Robots may be constructed on the lines of human form, but most robots are machines designed to perform a task with no regard to their aesthetics.
Clockwork refers to the inner workings of either mechanical machines called clocks or other mechanisms that work similarly, using a complex series of gears.
Badīʿ az-Zaman Abu l-ʿIzz ibn Ismāʿīl ibn ar-Razāz al-Jazarī was a kurdish Muslim polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, artisan, artist and mathematician. He is best known for writing The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices in 1206, where he described 100 mechanical devices, some 80 of which are trick vessels of various kinds, along with instructions on how to construct them.
A cuckoo clock is a typically pendulum-regulated clock that strikes the hours with a sound like a common cuckoo's call and has an automated cuckoo bird that moves with each note. Some move their wings and open/close their beaks while leaning forward, whereas in others, only the bird's body leans forward. The mechanism to produce the cuckoo call has been in use since the middle of the 18th century and has remained almost without variation until the present.
Mechanical toys are toys powered by mechanical energy. Depending on the mechanism used they can perform a range of motions, from simple to very complex.
Pierre Jaquet-Droz was a watchmaker of the late eighteenth century. He lived in Paris, London, and Geneva, where he designed and built animated dolls, or automata, to help his firm sell watches and mechanical birds.
Animatronics is the use of cable-pulled devices or motors to animate a replica of a human or an animal, or bring lifelike characteristics to an otherwise inanimate object. Animatronics were first introduced by Disney in 1962 for the film Mary Poppins which featured an animatronic bird. This was controlled fully by bicycle cables. Modern animatronics tend to use robotics and have found widespread applications in movie special effects and theme parks and have, since their inception, been primarily used as a spectacle of amusement. A robot designed to be a convincing imitation of a human is more specifically labeled as an android.
Henri Maillardet, was a Swiss mechanician of the 18th century who worked in London producing clocks and other mechanisms. He spent a period of time in the shops of Pierre Jaquet-Droz, who was in the business of producing watches, clocks, and automata.
A music box or musical box is an automatic musical instrument in a box that produces musical notes by using a set of pins placed on a revolving cylinder or disc to pluck the tuned teeth of a steel comb. They were developed from musical snuff boxes of the 18th century and called carillons à musique. Some of the more complex boxes also contain a tiny drum and/or bells in addition to the metal comb.
The Jaquet-Droz automata, among all the numerous automata built by the Jaquet-Droz family, refer to three doll automata built between 1768 and 1774 by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, his son Henri-Louis, and Jean-Frédéric Leschot: the musician, the draughtsman and the writer. The dolls are still functional, and can be seen at the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire of Neuchâtel, in Switzerland. They are considered to be among the remote ancestors of modern computers.
Robotic art is any artwork that employs some form of robotic or automated technology. There are many branches of robotic art, one of which is robotic installation art, a type of installation art that is programmed to respond to viewer interactions, by means of computers, sensors and actuators. The future behavior of such installations can therefore be altered by input from either the artist or the participant, which differentiates these artworks from other types of kinetic art.
An automaton clock or automata clock is a type of striking clock featuring automatons. Clocks like these were built from the 1st century BC through to Victorian times in Europe. A Cuckoo clock is a simple form of this type of clock.
Juanelo Turriano was an Italo-Spanish clockmaker, engineer and mathematician. He was born in Cremona.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an American historical fiction novel written and illustrated by Brian Selznick and published by Scholastic. The hardcover edition was released on January 30, 2007, and the paperback edition was released on June 2, 2008. With 284 pictures between the book's 533 pages, the book depends as much on its pictures as it does on the words. Selznick himself has described the book as "not exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things". The book won the 2008 Caldecott Medal, the first novel to do so, as the Caldecott Medal is for picture books.
The history of robotics has its origins in the ancient world. The modern concept began to be developed with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, which allowed the use of complex mechanics, and the subsequent introduction of electricity. This made it possible to power machines with small compact motors. In the early 20th century, the notion of a humanoid machine was developed. Today, one can envisage human-sized robots with the capacity for near-human thoughts and movement.
A wind-up toy is an automaton toy powered by a clockwork motor.
The Mechanical Galleon is an elaborate nef or table ornament in the form of a ship, which is also an automaton and clock. It was constructed in about 1585 by Hans Schlottheim in southern Germany. It was in the possession of Augustus, Elector of Saxony. The model is now in the British Museum in London. Two other similar models are located in museums in France and Austria, the Château d'Écouen and the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
Thomas Kuntz is an American multi-media artist notable for his contemporary automata. He has devoted a lifetime to acquiring the skills of a designer, sculptor, mechanic, automatist, animator, model-maker, painter and conceptualist.
A singing bird box is a box, usually rectangular-shaped, which contains within a miniature automaton singing bird concealed below an oval lid and activated by means of an operating lever.
Maillardet's automaton is an automaton built in London circa 1800 by a Swiss mechanician, Henri Maillardet. It is currently part of the collections at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.