Automaton

DEFINITION

Any thing that can move or act by itself ? a mechanical thing which automatically performs certain actions in response to preset controls, such as a metronome, a toy with clock-works, a revolving model of the planetary system, etc. The plural form is automata.Examples: Jean-Eug?ne Robert-Houdin (French, 1805-1871), Trapezist Antonio Diavolo, 1848, mixed media, 29 x 9 x 5 inches, John Gaughan Collection, Los Angeles, CA. This and the following work are among 22 devices in the Devices of Wonder exhibit catalogued online by the Getty Museum -- best seen with Flash and RealAudio plugins. Mark W. Tilden (English, 1961-), UniBug 3.1, 1998, twenty transistors and fifty mechanical parts, 3 x 8 x 12 inches, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Research Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico.Related links: OldToyz1.com displays several automata. Also see automatism, Dada, m?tamatic, music, puppet, theater, and time.

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