Monday, May 24, 2010

Leonardo's Robot


Gabriele Niccolai, an engineering model maker from Florence, Italy, stands next to one of the models he's created from the original drawings of Leonardo Di Vinci at the Sydney DA VINCI SECRETS - 'Anatomy to Robots' exhibition. (Click picture to enlarge).

From 20 May 2010 to 2 August 2010 Sydney Town Hall will be the venue for an amazing exhibition: DA VINCI SECRETS – 'Anatomy to Robots'.  The exhibition is on loan from the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in Florence and comprises anatomical panels and models, interactive robotics and machines inspired by anatomy, machines and panels inspired by nature, optics, theatre and art, artworks and frescoes.

The website for the exhibition is at:

The newspaper article which drew my attention to the exhibition was a story about Leonardo’s robot. Leonardo designed a robot which has since been created by people working off the small number of drawing and designs that remain, most having been lost. The created robot is part of the Sydney Town Hall exhibition.  The article is too long to reprint here but may be read by clicking on:

Have a look at some pictures of the exhibition, they’re well worth the look:

The following is from Wikipedia about Leonardo’s robot, also known as Leonardo’s Knight:
Leonardo's robot refers to a humanoid automaton designed by Leonardo Da Vinci around the year 1495.

The design notes for the robot appear in sketchbooks that were rediscovered in the 1950s. It is not known whether or not an attempt was made to build the device during Leonardo's lifetime. Since the discovery of the sketchbook, the robot has been built faithfully based on Leonardo's design; this proved it was fully functional, as Leonardo had planned.

The robot is a warrior, clad in German-Italian medieval armour that is apparently able to make several human-like motions. These motions included sitting up, moving its arms, neck, and an anatomically correct jaw. It is partially the fruit of Leonardo's anatomical research in the Canon of Proportions as described in the Vitruvian Man.

Recently, Mario Taddei wrote a book about the robot of Leonardo da Vinci. He found new drawings and clues and presented a more correct reconstruction of the robot.

3 comments:

  1. how dose it move

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  2. To be honest, I don't know. I have tried to find out but none of the sources I have looked at provide a clue as to how ir was powered eg stried energy in springs, or whether it was mechanically moved by human force. Sorry.

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  3. Great!!! We shall never let Leonardo's opus get forgotten...

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