The Japanese Thomas Edison Made Awesome Robot Dolls

The Japanese Thomas Edison Made Awesome Robot Dolls

They're actually called "karakuri ningyou" (からくり人形) or, literally, "trick doll". And get ready to be amazed.

Throughout history, people all over the world have made robots. The 19th century, in particular, was a great period for automata. In Japan, one master karakuri ningyou craftsman was Hisashige Tanaka, who's also been called "The Thomas Edison of Japan". Here, you can see a writing doll he created.

The Japanese Thomas Edison Made Awesome Robot Dolls
The Japanese Thomas Edison Made Awesome Robot Dolls

If you've ever studied Japanese or Chinese calligraphy, you'll know that this type of brush work isn't easy for humans to do, let alone 200-year-old dolls.

His most famous karakuri creation, however, was the archer doll he made. You might have seen it before. Recently, karakuri ningyou, which are quite famous in Japan, popped up on 2ch, the country's largest bulletin board.

The Japanese Thomas Edison Made Awesome Robot Dolls
The Japanese Thomas Edison Made Awesome Robot Dolls

The doll moves thanks to a network of pullies, strings, and a turning cam. This doll is controlled by 10 pieces of string — six of which control the head. The string gives the dolls smooth, almost elegant body movements.

Here's a closer look:

The Japanese Thomas Edison Made Awesome Robot Dolls
The Japanese Thomas Edison Made Awesome Robot Dolls
The Japanese Thomas Edison Made Awesome Robot Dolls

Japan's love of robots is said to have started with these mechanical dolls.

This isn't the most impressive thing Tanaka ever did. He also designed and built Japan's first steam locomotive. He helped design and produce modern weapons, ground-breaking chronometers, and a revolutionary clock. He also co-founded the company that's today known as Toshiba.

All that being said, these karakuri dolls are pretty effing incredible.

1880年に作られた日本のからくり人形wwwwwwwwwwwww [2ch]

GIFs: TheKarakuriCorner, ryo000001


Comments

    Those actually are really amazing to look at....Creepy as all hell though.

    amazing to think the level of automation you can achieve with gears and pulleys and the appropriately timed camshaft

    Holy shit. Dat kanji.

    I also feel kinda weird calling him Japan's Edison. Was he also a terrible person who publicly tortured animals in order to hurt his business rivals?

    Did he become rich by stealing other people's work or buying patents or hiring truly brilliant people and then claiming the work to be his own?

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