Diagram of Renaissance Artificial Hand

Readers of this blog will know that I’ve got an interest in ancient and medieval technology, robotics, and early attempts to create artificial limbs. This is a diagram of a 16th/17th century artificial hand I found over at another Tumblr site, Magic Transistor. I find this particularly interesting as it shows the mechanisms by which it was operated, demonstrating just how sophisticated these devices were. Geoff Simons in his book Robots: The Quest for Living Machines states that some scientists believe that the hand is more complicated in its structure than the human brain (false, in my view), and that the mechanical hands produced in the 16th and 17th centuries are still used by modern robotics scientists and engineers when designing their prosthetic limbs today. It’s a truly fascinating piece of engineering.

Magic Transistor Hand

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