Thursday, June 16, 2011
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: