Building Ancient Robots in Switzerland With Ingenious Traditional Engineering

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In a country known for their intricate watchmaking, one man is taking the mastery of machinery to another level—and to another era.Meet François Junod, a craftsman bringing back the ancient art of automata.

source/image: Great Big Story

Building automata dates back to ancient Egypt and is thought to be one of the earliest forays into robotics.

source/image: Great Big Story

First developed as a form of entertainment for royalty.Automata are complex mechanical sculptures that combine watchmaking and anatomy to create objects that seemingly come alive.

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Today, Junod is assembling mechanical masterpieces out of his studio in Switzerland, taking the historical craft into the future.That’s an automaton, and they’re entirely mechanical creations without circuit boards or electronics.

François makes automata in the same style, and his workshop is full of tools and machines for cutting and working metal and for modeling and sculpting figures.There’s something magical, wizardly almost, about automatons, starting with the Ancient Egyptians’ sand-driven devices through which the divinities were materialised.

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