The mechanical artwork of metalsmith and jewelry-maker Dukno Yoon simulate the flapping of wings through the simple swish of a finger
, or powered by metronome
. Artist's Series
Their hearts are not hearts, but clockwork springs. Their lungs are not lungs, but leather bellows. They are: Jack Donovan's Princely Toys [more inside]
Engineering question: say you only had one generator with multiple places that needed power in real time. How to get power to them? Caveat: do it mechanically with no electricity. Low Tech Magazine
brings you the Jerker Line System
and the Stangenkunst
, for all your post-apocalyptic / steam punk power distribution needs. Some are still in operation: Jerkerline Field wheel near Oil Springs Ontario
(video), and Oklahoma
120 years ago, in Paris, Blaise Bontems
made a mechanism for reproducing birdsong. More recently, Michael Start restored it to working condition
and recorded a video
. [more inside]
The kinetic sculptures of Anne Lilly
(からくり人形?) are mechanized puppets or automata from Japan from the 17th century to 19th century. There are many beautiful examples: Arrow shooting
, serving tea
, the geisha
, making magic
. [more inside]
Steve Durnin's D-Drive
is a fascinating new infinitely-variable transmission that doesn't use friction components or a clutch of any kind. Video of a prototype with detailed explanations is included.
I've never really had a clear understanding of how mechanical computing worked, until today when I watched these US Navy training films from 1953. Part 1
focuses on shafts, gears, cams and differentials. Part 2
explains mechanical component solvers, integrators and multipliers. More information about ship gun fire-control systems here
The Silver Swan
is a life-size musical automaton built in 1773 from silver and glass, now housed in the Bowes Museum
in County Durham. [more inside]
In Vestimentis Ursum.
Designer Matt Kirkland peels off the fur of mechanized stuffed animals to take a look at the robots lurking within.
Are you fairly handy? Well how about theoretically
handy? Take this test
to find out how mechanically apt you are. [more inside]
The X Finger
a prosthetic for digital amputees.
are representative of the highest technology in the Edo
period (1603 to 1867). Automata were also crafted hundreds of years ago in Europe: The Dulcimer Player
by Pierre Kintzing
, made in 1772; The Singing Lesson
, created by Robert-Houdin
; three androids
by Jaquet-Droz; the Pooping Duck
(the first link at the top). Ancient robots
. The first automaton was created by Al-Jazari: video
of his clock. The history of automata
toy automata. [more inside]
An' all the hot cats on the block have been doing it too - c'mon now, honey, I wanna do it with you.
Anyone hoping to build their own Death Probe
without dismantling the vaccum cleaner
or floor waxer
can rejoice. The creators of Roomba and Scooba have released a barebones version
. Add-on software from Microsoft
is available, should more ambitious types
decide to pair iRobot's tech with LEGO MindStorms
Complete simple tasks that people do better than computers. And, get paid for it.
In 1769, Hungarian nobleman Wolfgang von Kempelen astonished Europe by building a mechanical chess-playing automaton that defeated nearly every opponent it faced. A life-sized wooden mannequin, adorned with a fur-trimmed robe and a turban, Kempelen’s "Turk" was seated behind a cabinet and toured Europe confounding such brilliant challengers as Benjamin Franklin and Napoleon Bonaparte. Excuse me? Ah, yes. The Mechanical Turk
, by Amazon.
Really, really nice...
lots of lovely devices...