Show Notes: Historical Robots

Tracy Wilson

Jacques de Vaucanson's mechanical duck, which picked up grain, digested and expelled it. © Bettmann/Corbis

Today's episode is a brief survey of some of the world's earliest precursors to today's fanciest robots. The devices we have in mind aren't necessarily programmable - although some of them are - but they do represent inventors' first breakthroughs in the realm of mechanical beings. These automata write, they walk, they play the flute ... and they poop.

Our listener mail is from Elizabeth, who wrote to us about the environmental impact of outdoor pet cats following our episode on cat domestication.

For further reading: How Robots Work

A link to the episode: 5 Historical Robots

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