Researchers stunned by ingenious 2,000-year-old Ancient Greek robot

Museum demonstrates how the automatic maid works

Ancient Greece has turned up some of the world’s most significant inventions and ideas, thousands of years of relics stunning archaeologists working in the country.

The Ancient Greeks were some of the most advanced people of their time, pumping their efforts into the advancement of philosophy, maths, astronomy, and medicine.

Many of the structures they built remain as strong as when they were erected, perhaps the most famous being the Parthenon in Athens.

There are more, less well-known creations from the ancient society — many of which were thousands of years ahead of their time.

In the 3rd Century BC, the Ancient Greek elite were introduced to something they had never seen before, something which went on to be described as the world’s first robot.

READ MORE Archaeologists stunned by ‘astonishing’ discovery of 2,000-year-old computer

Automate Therapaenis — the automatic maid — would have been a mainstay in any wealthy or distinguished individual’s home.

First mentioned by Philo Byzantios, the maid was a life-sized doll that held an oenochoe — a wine jug — in one hand, its other hand free to receive a drinking vessel.

A mechanism inside the doll allowed the transfer of wine and water from two separate jugs that would feed into the jug she held. When a vessel was placed into the free hand, two pots interred inside her body and distributed the weight, with a tube passing along her hand to help the liquid on its way.

Another set of tubes ran through the free hand — the one that the cup would sit in — which helped the liquid pass through by using air.

When a person placed a drinking cup on the maid’s free hand the wine would be dispensed as the weight would push her left hand down and the key tubes were lifted.

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The hole of one tube was aligned with the air tube connected to the container holding the wine, forcing air into it and wine to flow into the jug.

At the same time, the hole of the second tube was aligned with the air channel of the container holding the water, and this water could dilute the wine if desired.

When the cup was filled the hand holding the cup continued to sink because of the weight, and the passage of the air channel of the water was blocked and so the water stopped.

An ingenious invention, the maid could fill the visitor’s cup with pure wine or diluted wine, in the quantity he or she desired depending on when they removed the cup from her hand.

There are other instances of the Greeks having created things beyond their time.

The Antikythera mechanism has been touted as the world’s first analogue computer and was discovered in a shipwreck off the coast of Greece in 1901.

At the time of discovery, no one quite knew what to do with it, and it wasn’t until a year later that archaeologist Valerios Stais identified a gear hidden inside it.

Those investigating the mechanism soon concluded that it was once used as a calculating machine, its bronze wheels measuring the cycles of the cosmos.

Fast-forward to the Seventies and the advent of 3D X-rays, and a team led by Professor Tony Freeth of University College London (UCL) managed to piece together the first-ever in-depth picture of the mechanism.

They found that the device could also follow the variable motion of the moon, as well as thousands of Ancient Greek characters etched into its surface invisible to the naked eye.

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