Check out this amazing project by Brett King inspired in part by the works of Henri Maillardet and Thomas Kuntz. It's an automaton and an interactive performance all in one. The multimedia piece has a well-developed back-story which makes for a rich and intriguing experience for the viewer.
The artist explains:
The Aetherologist is an interactive steampunk exhibit that demonstrates the power of the aether as a communications medium. It includes an automaton which gathers information about the time and temperature around the world and an Aetherscope for direct viewing of events around the world. The idea behind the video is that the Aetherologist might have been exhibited at something like the Chicago World's Fair in 1934. I imagined "the aether" being the way that internet was developed in an alternate reality.
Using both found and constructed elements, the automaton took just over 4 months to build. The found objects incorporated into the piece include a working bakelite radio, microphone, magnifying glass, brass mask, and prism.
King intends to create a carrying case so that he can take The Aetheriologist to various Steampunk and maker conventions, such as ConTemporal.