Early Robotics and Automata from the past

Over the years we have marveled at the modern developments in robotics research however as it turns out there is a long tradition of mechanical automata of all sorts. They were designed to shoot arrows, draw calligraphy, serve tea and in China some even pointed the way home.  These early works demonstrate a long tradition of impressive mechanical engineering knowledge far ahead of its time. The designs are elegant and beautiful works of mechanical art which must have appeared to function by pure magic. Even now these creations are impressive to watch especially when one considers how long ago they were created. As we embark on a new age of robotics perhaps it helps to take design lessons from the past to see how we can use these principles in the future.