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
- Adams, Ariel. "Exhibition In Switzerland Showcases 18th Century Androids From Jaquet Droz." Forbes. June 25, 2012. http://www.forbes.com/sites/arieladams/2012/06/25/exhibition-in-switzerland-showcases-18th-century-androids-from-jaquet-droz/
- Adams, Ariel. "Jaquet Droz 'The Writer' Automata: Awesome Antique Android." A Blog to Watch. July 4, 2012. http://www.ablogtowatch.com/jaquet-droz-the-writer-automata-awesome-antique-android/
- Automata. "History." http://www.mechanical-toys.com/History%20page.htm
- BBC. "Mechanical Marvels, Clockwork Dreams." http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ulc82PlAAmY
- Becker, Dr. Barbara J. "Nature and Artifice -- Lecture 13 -- Automata."University of California, Irvine. Department of History. Spring Quarter 2006. https://eee.uci.edu/clients/bjbecker/NatureandArtifice/lecture13.html
- Buchanan, Norma. "The Man Behind the Brand: Pierre Jaquet-Droz." WatchTime. Aug. 22, 2010. http://www.watchtime.com/featured/the-man-behind-the-brand-pierre-jaquet-droz/#
- Dalakov, Georgi. "Dreamers: The Automata." The History of Computers. May 31, 2013. http://history-computer.com/Dreamers/automata.html
- Gearworx. "History of Automata." http://www.handworx.com.au/gearworx/history/ancient.html
- Huffman, Carl. "Archytas." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Fall 2011 Edition., Edward N. Zalta (ed.). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2011/entries/archytas/
- Jacques de Vaucanson. Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/624113/Jacques-de-Vaucanson
- Needham, Joseph. "Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 2, History of Scientific Thought." Cambridge University Press. 1991. Pp. 53-56.
- O'Connor, J.J. and E.F. Robertson. "Archytas of Tarentum." University of St. Andrews, Scotland. School of Mathematics and Statistics. April 1999. http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Biographies/Archytas.html
- Reuters Video. "Da Vinci's Mechanical Lion Walks." Aug. 14, 2009. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNWE2AdfNuo
- Shirbon, Estelle. "Da Vinci's Lion Prowls Again After 500 Years." Reuters. Aug. 14, 2009. http://in.reuters.com/article/2009/08/14/us-france-davinci-lion-idINTRE57D1MQ20090814
- Wood, Gaby. "Living Dolls: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life." Guardian. Feb. 15, 2002. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2002/feb/16/extract.gabywood