Thursday, June 16, 2011

Return of the Pooping Duck

Radiolab has an interesting story up about the a 16th century Spanish-made automaton in the shape of a monk.  I talked a lot in my spring class, "Mechanical Life and Modernity," about the history of automata and the emergence of the idea of the robot, but I had never heard of this monk.  It doesn't hold a candle to Vaucanson's digesting duck, but this story points out the interesting way in which the automaton functioned in the pre-Enlightenment religious mind. 

The story is worth giving a listen to here.

Also, here's a video of the monk in action:

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