The Wonders of Simple Machines Mirroring Life

Before the invention of the electric motors, software, and computers that power today's toys and robots, there was the age of mechanics where motion was driven by cranks and gears, coding was done with cams and followers, and simple machines created surprisingly complex engines mirroring the processes of life. This program investigates the basic mechanisms of vintage automata, explores their progression from giant mechanations in medieval towers to miniature curiosities in royal parlors, and demonstrates their inspiration for the industrial revolution and modern computing and robotics.

There will also be time at the end for guided, hands-on exploration of my automata collection (see below) that will highlight their application of simple machines. Note that this program is based on the excellent BBC Four documentary Mechanical Marvels, Clockwork Dreams.


Intrigued by the concept of medieval and modern machines that mirror life?

See what our Partners have to say about this program and others in our Testimonials.

Please Note: Presentation and materials are for showcase purposes only and not meant to be used without explicit permission.


See my hands-on collection of automata implementing a variety of mechanical principles in mirroring lifelike motion. Click on any photo to learn more about a automaton. Use the arrows at the left and right to move to different photos or simply allow the photos to scroll automatically.

LOGISTICS, Fee & Delivery Requirements

Duration: 2.0 hour interactive program |  Ages: 8/9-Adult/Senior  |  Participants: 4-30  |  Cost: Starting at $299 for 2 hours ($30 additional 1 hour) |  Requirements: Video Projector with HDMI port and speakers ; 1 large table for presenter's items ; 8 medium tables with 4 chairs each for hands-on stations ; 1.0 hour setup and breakdown times ; additional travel charges may apply. Contact for details.

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“This was really interesting! I am excited to go home and try to build some of these creations myself.”
— Alicia B.
“Automata - more than meets the eye! Haha. Seriously though, I loved learning about lifelike machines.”
— Ryan C.

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