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This was more advanced than the suction pumps that appeared in 15th-century Europe, which lacked delivery pipes. It was not, however, any more efficient than the noria commonly used by the Muslim world at the time. The system had water from a lake turn a scoop-wheel and a system of gears which transported jars of water up to a water channel that led to mosques and hospitals in the city. Al-Jazari built automated moving peacocks driven by hydropower. Mark E. Rosheim summarizes the advances in robotics made by Muslim engineers, especially al-Jazari, as follows:.

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Unlike the Greek designs, these Arab examples reveal an interest, not only in dramatic illusion, but in manipulating the environment for human comfort. Thus, the greatest contribution the Arabs made, besides preserving, disseminating and building on the work of the Greeks, was the concept of practical application.


This was the key element that was missing in Greek robotic science. The Arabs, on the other hand, displayed an interest in creating human-like machines for practical purposes but lacked, like other preindustrial societies, any real impetus to pursue their robotic science. One of al-Jazari's humanoid automata was a waitress that could serve water, tea or drinks. The drink was stored in a tank with a reservoir from where the drink drips into a bucket and, after seven minutes, into a cup, after which the waitress appears out of an automatic door serving the drink. Al-Jazari invented a hand washing automaton incorporating a flush mechanism now used in modern flush toilets.

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It features a female humanoid automaton standing by a basin filled with water. When the user pulls the lever, the water drains and the female automaton refills the basin. Al-Jazari's "peacock fountain" was a more sophisticated hand washing device featuring humanoid automata as servants which offer soap and towels. Rosheim describes it as follows: [35]. Pulling a plug on the peacock's tail releases water out of the beak; as the dirty water from the basin fills the hollow base a float rises and actuates a linkage which makes a servant figure appear from behind a door under the peacock and offer soap.

When more water is used, a second float at a higher level trips and causes the appearance of a second servant figure — with a towel! Al-Jazari's work described fountains and musical automata, in which the flow of water alternated from one large tank to another at hourly or half-hourly intervals. This operation was achieved through his innovative use of hydraulic switching. Al-Jazari created a musical automaton, which was a boat with four automatic musicians that floated on a lake to entertain guests at royal drinking parties. Professor Noel Sharkey has argued that it is quite likely that it was an early programmable automata and has produced a possible reconstruction of the mechanism; it has a programmable drum machine with pegs cams that bump into little levers that operated the percussion.

The drummer could be made to play different rhythms and different drum patterns if the pegs were moved around. Al-Jazari constructed a variety of water clocks and candle clocks. These included a portable water-powered scribe clock , which was a meter high and half a meter wide, reconstructed successfully at the Science Museum in [24] [40] Al-Jazari also invented monumental water-powered astronomical clocks which displayed moving models of the Sun, Moon, and stars.

According to Donald Hill , al-Jazari described the most sophisticated candle clocks known to date. Hill described one of al-Jazari's candle clocks as follows: [4]. The candle, whose rate of burning was known, bore against the underside of the cap, and its wick passed through the hole.

Wax collected in the indentation and could be removed periodically so that it did not interfere with steady burning. The bottom of the candle rested in a shallow dish that had a ring on its side connected through pulleys to a counterweight.

As the candle burned away, the weight pushed it upward at a constant speed. The automata were operated from the dish at the bottom of the candle. No other candle clocks of this sophistication are known. Al-Jazari's candle clock also included a dial to display the time and, for the first time, employed a bayonet fitting , a fastening mechanism still used in modern times. The elephant clock described by al-Jazari in is notable for several innovations.

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It was the first clock in which an automaton reacted after certain intervals of time in this case, a humanoid robot striking the cymbal and a mechanical robotic bird chirping and the first water clock to accurately record the passage of the temporal hours to match the uneven length of days throughout the year. Al-Jazari's largest astronomical clock was the "castle clock", which was a complex device that was about 11 feet 3. It included a display of the zodiac and the solar and lunar orbits , and an innovative feature of the device was a pointer in the shape of the crescent moon which travelled across the top of a gateway, moved by a hidden cart, and caused automatic doors to open, each revealing a mannequin , every hour.

Another feature of the device was five automata musicians who automatically play music when moved by levers operated by a hidden camshaft attached to a water wheel. Al-Jazari invented water clocks that were driven by both water and weights. These included geared clocks and a portable water-powered scribe clock, which was a meter high and half a meter wide. The scribe with his pen was synonymous to the hour hand of a modern clock. Alongside his accomplishments as an inventor and engineer, al-Jazari was also an accomplished artist.

In The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices , he gave instructions of his inventions and illustrated them using miniature paintings, a medieval style of Islamic art. For other people with the name, see al-Jazari surname. Cizre , Artuqid State [1]. Main article: Elephant clock. Further information: Clock tower. The musical robot band designed by al-Jazari. A table device automaton designed by al-Jazari. The hand-washing automaton with a flush mechanism designed by al-Jazari.

Al-Jazari's hydropowered saqiya chain pump device. Collected and reprinted by F. Natural Sciences in Islam Translated and annotated by Donald R. Critical and ce in Raqqa.

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Bir, Atilla. Edited by C. Gillispie, Vol. It was irst translated by Robertus Retinen- ber Finally C. Nallino published the third Latin Rashed, R. Mathematicians, published in ; and the second volume, com- Astronomers, and Other Scholars of Islamic Civiliza- mentary with notes, appeared in These tion and heir Works 7th—19th c. In chapter 56, he described in Turkey before ce and died in ce near horizontal and vertical sundials.

His family egg , which was a marble disk to represent the belonged to the Sabian sect star worshippers , unequal hours, and other instruments including but he was a Muslim, as is apparent from his the triquetrum and mural quadrant. He also calculated the. Related Papers.

The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices

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