Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Leonardo da Vinci: Master of Robotics

It's not common knowledge, but Leonardo da Vinci successfully designed and built working robots. Seriously.
By far the most advanced was his automated cart. It could be programmed to move a certain distance, execute turns and adjust speed. A working replica has been built and proved in one fell swoop, Leonardo was far, far ahead of his time.
Even less widely known is his robotic knight. Scientists once believed he only designed the thing and never actually created it, but recent discovered documents show he did in fact build it and used it successfully to entertain a local prince. It could sit, stand again, turn and move its arms. A working model of it was also successfully built and tested.
Even NASA turned to the 15th century inventor when it first conceived of an automated robot for the International Space Station.
And well it should. He is the founder of modern robotics, after all.

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