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New Scientist recreates a robot made by the ancient Greeks

Technology feature editor Ben Crystall explains how he recreated a programmable robot dating from 60AD. More here:

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  • Joshua Langfield says:

    right I'm gonna go nerdy but could you use the falling weight to set off another falling weight ,previously held at rest, once the first weight reaches the bottom. and then keep adding more weights so it could do longer tasks

  • Elgora Varka says:

    You should try to make the Ancient Hellenic waiter robot. It serves wine and dillutes it with water. Again weight is responsible to its funcioning.

  • アルジュン Yumeito says:

    I made a game out of this for Ludum Dare 36 😀 since the theme was "Ancient technology"
    Feel free to check it out here :
    Or u can play it online on Newgrounds (HTML5) :

  • Horus The Torus Tourist says:

    Mummy, can I please have the latest NVIDIA string-based graphics card?

  • sonydogman says:

    I bet i can program this thing to bring me something from ANY room in the house and back using as a trigger a string, or by set it up to do it with a delay action. This is a real robotic mechanism that can work for hours! if the prototype is developed further! adding more weights that can follow a pattern release mechanism which that can decided by the actions of the wheels…

  • Magic Handz says:

    My right ear feels lonely

  • Galaxy Spirals says:

    This is more like a marionette.

  • whosmav628 says:

    No, this is not a robot

  • hyzaar99 says:

    dad! what the fuck! my scooter!

  • Skip Scarecrow says:

    Parent of the year… "I just cut my sons scooter up" fantastic dude, fantastic

  • baltalı ilah says:

    siktiğimin oğlu iki saat konuştu makinayı nasıl çalıştığını göstermedi

  • Eng. AJ says:

    These losers don't know what is the definition of a robot

  • QVear says:

    My left ear enjoyed what you've said. #VoiceIsSupposedToBeCenterPanned

  • Jim Giant says:

    Nice idea but the more weights the heavier the robot would be, thus more force required to accelerate it (A = F/M).

    Each extra weight would give extra inefficiency so it's probably better to have 1 big weight than many small.

    You could make the frame lighter or reduce friction but the only way to get a major performance upgrade out of it would be to make it taller or increase gravity.
    (PE = M * G* H)

  • WurdBendur says:

    When the weight falls, it could release another weight to keep going. These could be chained indefinitely, so the distance the weight has to fall is not a significant obstacle.

  • Someone says:

    0:30 your son must be very happy

  • Rich Smith says:


  • Bucky•JaKRBT says:

    FOR SCIENCE !!! @___@

  • Rich Smith says:

    He made it for himself

  • Mr. W says:

    What? Evi1M4chine is just telling the shit-talkers to stop being armchair critics in the face of other people's work. He/she is perfectly entitled to say that and doesn't need to back that up with his/her own accomplishments because he/she isn't bitching in the face of anyone's obvious displays of achievement. It's a valid point to make anyway.

  • Mr. W says:

    … and made him a robot. What a cool dad.

  • JimtheHermit1 says:

    Theater. Props moving around on stage by themselves.

  • haxorsuxor says:

    Durring the robot uprising this is the robot that we should fear.

  • Evi1M4chine says:

    The Greeks created such devices in *60 AD*, and all you retards say is how he cut off the wheels? When was the last time *you* invented something that is *centuries* ahead of its time? When was the last time you even got up from your chair and led humanity into the future, instead of throwing your whole life away with being a replaceable serf in a pointless money machine and being occupied with meaningless bullshit like “star magazines” and fake politics?

  • Mycan Cabuco says:

    @minesajd A self controlling machine that was recreated from the ancient greeks is far COOLER than a modern scooter. Try running it down some stairs and it'll be hilarious watching it fall down.

  • oculairus says:

    my guess would be that back then, if this device came out into the battlefielf it oculd either scare off potential enemies or flush hem out making them attack the decoy long enough to give away their position. this is all off the top of my head guessing though, i really do not know the real purpose of it. it would be cool to find out more on this ancient robot..

  • MrRedeyedJedi says:

    Daddy, where did you say you put my scooter, I wanna go out to play….

  • Descendant of Raynald of Chatillon of Antioch says:

    What purpose would this have exactly?…

  • Мамкин Эксперт says:

    @MarSoftware Ладно тебе, еще в начальных классах из металлического конструктора мы еще не такое собирали.

  • Семён Марьясин says:

    @LUggeRM Хрень или нет, а задачу свою выполняет: добирается из пункта "а" в пункт "б" по достаточно сложной траектории и может доставить туда какой-нибудь груз.

  • RoboticusMusic says:


  • ShangoRaiden says: aren't you curious?

  • Quek hong wei says:

    i wonder if his son was a willing party

  • vetttech1999 says:

    Im guessing the kid was thrilled when he found out dad tore up his scooter for this video,,lol

  • mryellow123 says:

    @TenderTrap86 It didn't suck anyway?

  • hgfjyrdetryu says:

    woah.. ancient geeks! teehee

  • alex61761 says:

    i understand the tight budget scientists have to work with, but really?

  • Rich Smith says:

    ' i took my sons scooter and i cut the wheels off' what a bastard

  • Aloz16 says:

    @garlicluva A robot is an autonomous machine. That is an autonomous machine. That is a robot.

  • garlicluva says:

    It's not a Robot, its made from wood and string
    He stole his kid's scooter wheels – asshole
    It's total shit! get the fuck outta here.

  • antonis damianidis says:


  • iabovu says:

    Perfect for manoeuvres less than three meters? would you wait for your wife to wind up the robot or would u rather she just passed u the salt herself?

  • iabovu says:

    Perfect for manoeuvres less than three meters? would you wait for your wife to wind up the robot or would u rather she just passed u the salt herself?

  • Mikael Andersson says:

    I built one of these to replace me at work.

  • eternyman says:

    lol i have made robot as well.. i call it rock.. you can throw it and it flies.. programing it is very simple and simulair to modern robots as with angle of your hand i can easily set its path. Only limitation is hight it can travvel before it hits the ground..

  • andrew grech says:

    woo ow this 'robot' has just put uncle SAM to rest , cured cancer , and got the world out of the global recession

  • Twiztidguy says:

    I definitely don't think i can believe the big bang theory after watching this. I think i lost brain cells… Its so simple it kind of reminds me of the catapults we made in boys scouts when I was (10!!!). Had i known i could make a video about it and get 220,000 views i wouldn't have trashed it.

  • newgeorge says:

    I hope your son didnt mind losing his scooter's wheels.

  • intheshitter says:

    This is pretty damn cool. You could use strings to program it to drive around your house 🙂 Im going to try it when I cbf.

  • Bjarku says:

    @siqbrah different dictionaries have slightly different definitions. therefore, either none of them are objectively correct or all but one of them are lying. you just dont understand how this machine is programmed, so you think its just like a wind up toy. you're wrong. you're simple and stupid, the robot isn't.

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