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Hacks Build Programmable Robot From 60AD Print E-mail
Inspired by an article they had published, journalists at New Scientist magazine decided to build a replica of a robot designed over 2000 years ago. Invented by Greek engineer Hero in 60AD for, the robot is programmable and moves autonomously. Ben Crystall of New Scientist stole the wheels from his son's scooter (thanks Dad!) and scavenged ropes and weights from an old sash window to build the three-wheeler.   You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

The mechanism is simple but very clever. A weight drops down a tube, pulling a rope, which in turn is wound around the axle of the wheels. By putting pegs on the axle, it is possible to change the direction of its rotation, allowing the bot to go forwards and backwards and to turn. The journeys are short, limited by the length the weight drops.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Hero apparently made a team of robots to perform on stage. It seems that entertainment (along with war) has always been the engine of innovation.

A programmable robot from 60 AD [New Scientist]
The programmable robot of ancient Greece [New Scientist - Paywall]

 
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