beanz Magazine

al-Jazari Automatons

Wikipedia

We might think robots are a modern invention. But al-Jazari created amazing automatons in the thirteenth century. Today we would call him a maker.

If Ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari were alive today, we would call him a maker. Originally from modern day Cizre in southeast Turkey, al-Jazari lived from 1136-1206, during the Islamic golden age. He was a scholar, mathematician, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman, and artist. He built water systems, clocks, and automatons, mechanical robots that amazed people who saw them. In 1206, al-Jazari wrote a book, The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, to describe 100 devices he had built with instructions how to build them. He illustrated his book with beautiful intricate paintings of his work.

Many consider him the da Vinci of the Muslim world (and da Vinci the al-Jazari of the European world). Imagine if al-Jazari had lived today with sensors, LEDs, Pis and Arduinos, soldering irons, and all the tools we use to make things.

Musical Robot Band

This boat with four musicians floated on a lake to entertain guests. It used water flow and pegs to bump levers to play a drum machine.

 

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