Sunday, January 29, 2012

Automata in the news: CBS Sunday Morning feature

It seems everyone is talking about automata -- even CBS Sunday Morning. Here is a nice piece featuring automata from this week's program.

You get a great out-of-the-display-case look at the Maillardet automaton at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The automaton, dating to around 1800, can draw four pictures and write three poems. The automaton is the mechanical marvel that inspired Brian Selznick, author of the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which Martin Scorsese brought to the big screen as the Oscar-nominated film Hugo.

Additional context on the history of automata is provided by Jere Ryder, Conservator of the Guinness Collection of automata located at the Morris Museum, in Morristown, New Jersey. He shows off a humorous automaton of a man and a pig as well as a clown performing a magic trick.

Have you seen the automaton at The Franklin Institute? What did you think of the movie Hugo? Finally, when will you make a trip to the Morris Museum to see hundreds of automata? Tell us about it in the comments!

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