Topic: automata

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Haruki Nakamura’s surprising paper karakuri animals

Japanese paper crafter Haruki Nakamura designs mechanical paper karakuri-style animals that peek and pop in surprising ways. Karakuri, meaning 'trick' or 'mechanism', are mechanical automata pieces that were first mad...

An Automaton of Marie Antoinette, The Dulcimer Player

From the 2012 exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, take a closer look at a unique piece of automata: David Roentgen's Automaton of Queen Marie A...

Curious Contraptions by automata artist Paul Spooner

Via the new Curious Contraptions exhibition at San Francisco's Exploratorium, meet artist and mechanic Paul Spooner. Within a community of British makers, Spooner created over 40 whimsical kinetic sculptures for The C...

Hand-cranked kangaroo automaton (and friends)

As the kangaroo leaps, its ears wiggle. Its eyes roll. The flowers dance. Birds fly, and the cat's trying to hang onto a fish. This incredibly charming piece of mechanical mayhem, titled Hundredweight of Heads, was cr...

JK Brickworks’ LEGO Orrery

Orreries, mechanical models of the solar system, are not about proper scale, but they are good for better understanding the basic positions and motions of the planets and moons in our solar system. LEGO artist Jas...

Rowland Emett’s Marvelous Dream Machines

From a 2014 exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, explore the Marvelous Machines of Rowland Emett, an English cartoonist and maker of fantastical mechanical contraptions. Emett lived and worked in Birmingha...

A Sisyphus kinetic sculpture made with LEGO

Whether it's being powered by a hand crank or a motor, this Sisyphus LEGO kinetic sculpture by LEGO artist Jason Allemann is impressive, from the smooth movement of the figure's body to the myth-driven depictions on t...

Multilayered, mechanized music-making by Graham Dunning

Experimental music artist Graham Dunning plays with how music can be created through a mix of found objects and sound experiments. In Mechanical Techno Demonstration, he rigs up multiple layers of sound-making interac...

Mekanikos vs. The Minotaur, a charming wooden machine

Watch as The Mighty Mekanikos tests his strength against the raging Minotaur! This epic battle draws the crowds and their money in every time, but little do spectators know that the act is not what it claims to be. ...

Life-like paper chameleon automata by Johan Scherft

This 8cm long chameleon may look lifelike, but it’s actually made from paper, gears, a magnet, and a bit of professional watercolor work, all by papercraft artist Johan Scherft. The video above, featured at The Automa...

The Jules Verne-Themed Sanderson Orrery

An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system, and The Sanderson Orrery, above, is a beautiful Jules Verne-themed one. It comes complete with a steam engine, a time machine, and a pet dinosaur. The music is Moza...

The Writer, automata by Pierre Jaquet-Droz

Cambridge’s Professor Simon Schaffer presents The Writer, a 240-year-old, 6000 piece machine that was created by Swiss-born watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz, his son Henri-Louis, and Jean-Frédéric Leschot around 1770-177...

Walking Paper: Making a Paper Bi-ped Robot

It might not always be completely clear as to what’s going on in this 2012 vid, but the final result is awesome, so stick with it and maybe watch more than once. It’s titled Walking Paper.  There’s ...

Minesaki Sougo’s Tumbling doll

This is Minesaki Sougo’s Tumbling doll, a mechanical toy made for the wealthy during Japan’s Edo period, from 1603-1868. The craft of making automata (self-operating machines) is known in Japan as Karakuri...

Computational Design of Mechanical Characters

Imagine building a mechanical character from a computer program that could calculate the size and positioning of gears in order to make that character’s motions come alive. The team at Disney Research have designed an...

Mechanical singing bird box automata of the 1700s

While googling about mechanical inventions like Mark Galt’s walking mechanical humans, I happened upon this lovely 1890 piece of restored gears and springs, with the original bellows: a singing bird mechanism. F...

Walking mechanical woman and man

Brass, aluminum, stainless steel, and copper turn into more than just materials under the care and engineering of kinetic artist Mark Galt, who made a walking mechanical woman, above, and man, below: There are ...