Anyone can build a cart propelled by a falling lead weight, but this one, originally designed by a Greek inventor named Hero way back in 60 AD, responds to a series of commands "programmed" into the axle. The string pulled by the weight goes forward and back depending on where it has been wrapped around pegs in the axle, producing a handy tool for moving actors on and off stage. (Those Greeks sure loved their drama.) [New Scientist]
World's First Programmable Robot Dates Back to 60 AD (Video)
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