Oh you Greeks, you’re constantly surprising the world with everything you knew before everyone else re-discovered it hundreds of years later. Case in point: 100BCE, Greeks built a mechanical constructed a machine now said to be the world’s earliest computer, one sophisticated enough to predict lunar eclipses. This device known as “Antikythera’s Mechanism” was originally discovered in a shipwreck in 1901CE, in 2006CE high res x-ray tomography revealed that the device was made for predicting celestial events with amazing accuracy, now in 2010CE, it’s been reconstructed fully by Apple OS X software engineer Andrew Carol.
Now there’s a mini documentary (released yesterday over at FastCoDesign,) by A Small Mammal production for Digital Science, directed by John Pavlus, and in it you can see how this device works! In an interview done for the post on FastCo, Carol had the following to say: “The Mechanism is interesting to me because people think of these astronomical predictions only being possible with sophisticated NASA computers. But to realize that someone actually built a mechanical machine to do that 2000 years ago is pretty impressive — and figuring out to to do it myself in Lego is fascinating too.”
Take a peek at the documentary here, and marvel at how to create a 2000 year old device, we but have to reach out our hands and pluck from a collection of read-made childrens toys to construct it. All hail the modern world.