The Human Printer: An Automaton Powered By Art Students

"Machines have less problems," Andy Warhol famously said in 1963. "I'd like to be a machine, wouldn't you?" Andy was born a few decades too early to see it through, but a group of art students, who go by the Human Printer, are now living his dream. » 4/24/13 10:20am 4/24/13 10:20am

This 200-Year-Old Mechanical Caterpillar Does Everything But Turn Into…

Robots are so commonplace now that we use them to entertain kids at amusement parks. But even though modern technology has given us artificial lifeforms that can walk, talk, and even fly, there's still something utterly fascinating about pre-electronic mechanical automatons like this Vers de Soie caterpillar dating… » 12/25/12 9:00pm 12/25/12 9:00pm

How Can This 1890 Automaton Produce Such Surprisingly Realistic Bird…

It's hard to look back at 120 year old devices like this and think of them as technology. Where's the touchscreen, the OS, the battery? But this 19th century automaton that produces remarkably authentic bird songs would have been cutting-edge tech back then. And even now, it's still pretty damn impressive. » 12/07/12 8:29am 12/07/12 8:29am

Watch This Creepy Robot Made in the 18th Century Come to Life Again

Back in the 18th century, this automaton called 'The Writer' was built by Jaquet Droz. After more than 200 years, the robot has been reanimated and it's way creepier than any robot made today. » 7/09/12 2:00pm 7/09/12 2:00pm

Wall-E-Like Farming Robots Could Replace Undocumented Workers and Save…

Despite advancements in mechanization within US agriculture, some menial jobs are still best left to human workers. Problem is, federal crackdowns on undocumented laborers have decimated that workforce. The Harvester automaton could provide a cheap, readily available labor force without the threat of raids by the INS. » 11/14/11 6:40pm 11/14/11 6:40pm

18th Century Silver Swan Automaton Looks More Realistic than Most…

If this Silver Swan automaton were invented yesterday, it would have surprised me for its realism, and the fact that it's made of glass and silver. When I learnt it's from the 18th century, it completely blew me away. » 10/12/09 11:00am 10/12/09 11:00am

The Super Rideable Rubber Band Robot Automaton

This refreshingly mechanical hand-made robot automaton can be hand-cranked to close its fists, drop its chest plate and unleash a hellfire of rubber bands onto its victims. » 6/19/09 1:00pm 6/19/09 1:00pm

Amazing Mechanical Elephant Is Not Afraid of USB Mice

Steampunk may be tired, but this mechanical elephant has left us speechless with its design and detail. It's just stunning, from tail to trunk. Built over the course of three and a half months by photographer/designer/cool-guy-at-large Andrew Chase, the 85-pound elephant automaton is made out of "transmission parts,… » 11/19/08 7:00pm 11/19/08 7:00pm

Magic-Performing 1920s Chinese Automaton

It's not quite Asimo, but this Chinese magician automaton (read: crappy wooden robot) does one thing and one thing only: make other wooden automatons appear and disappear from containers (we don't count sporting a badass mustache as a thing). It's going to be auctioned off on October 28 at Skinner in Bolton, MA, if… » 10/04/07 3:30pm 10/04/07 3:30pm

Type02: Secret Son of Darth Vader and C-3PO can Rip Your Head Off

This cross between Darth Vader and C-3PO is not really a robot like we told you before, but I bet it can still squash your head like a ripe melon with its air servos. The 220-pound, 6-feet-tall beast with 24 movable parts is really an automaton designed to mimic a protocol droid, which means that is remotely… » 5/24/07 8:36am 5/24/07 8:36am

Maillardet's Automaton

Here's the story of one of the most complicated Automatons made at the turn of the century. It was donated to the Franklin Institute in 1928 in really bad condition from a family who had it for many years. The family told the staff that the automaton used to draw pictures, and after fixing it up, they found that it… » 6/22/06 8:00pm 6/22/06 8:00pm