Music boxes, automatons, harpsichords, typewriters, flutes, fabric-making machines, modern computers. Explore the playful wonderland behind these great inventions from around the globe, the unnecessary but delightful amusements that have led to today’s transformative ideas and technologies. Author Steven Johnson explains.

We love play. Watch The Genius of Play – Vital benefits of playtime in 9 animations. Plus: How to make a carrot clarinet, A Chorus of Keys, music box videos and automata videos, including The Writer by Pierre Jaquet-Droz and Haruki Nakamura’s surprising paper karakuri animals.

Bonus: More videos about inventions.

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