Japan has always been on the forefront of cutting edge robotics. Its roots can be traced back 200-300 years during the Edo period when skilled craftsmen created automata (self-operating machines). Using nothing more than pulleys and weights they were able to make the Karakuri (Japanese automata) perform amazing tasks.

Japans modern day robots can be traced back to the Karakuri. Today Hideki Higashino is one of the few remaining craftsmen who is determined to keep the history and tradition of Japanese Karakuri alive.

Filming Japan’s robot ancestors using the Sony F3 – for Aljazeera’s Frames, thanks MYX]

John Baichtal

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


  • http://twitter.com/kagetsuki0 影月

    Few craftsmen? We built Karakuri in school, and the principals and techniques of Karakuri are the foundation of many engineers education. It’s not anywhere near rare. Of course creations like the ones shown here are masterpieces, and the genuine Karakuri-shi who can produce such works are few in number. Still, there are yearly competitions, shows, and festivals featuring such Karakuri works. The Aichi Expo a few years back had a rather large exhibit as well – I’m sure video would be easy to find.

  • http://twitter.com/kagetsuki0 影月

    Few craftsmen? We built Karakuri in school, and the principals and techniques of Karakuri are the foundation of many engineers education. It’s not anywhere near rare. Of course creations like the ones shown here are masterpieces, and the genuine Karakuri-shi who can produce such works are few in number. Still, there are yearly competitions, shows, and festivals featuring such Karakuri works. The Aichi Expo a few years back had a rather large exhibit as well – I’m sure video would be easy to find.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rod.read Roderick Read

    genius

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brandon-A-Boyer/832922941 Brandon A Boyer

    It is refreshing seeing master craftsman putting their heart and soul into their work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brandon-A-Boyer/832922941 Brandon A Boyer

    It is refreshing seeing master craftsman putting their heart and soul into their work.

  • Anonymous

    Sweeeeeeeet…

  • http://www.facebook.com/lorincdm Lorinc Del Motte

    I think the appeal, regardless of era, is the fact that this kind of stuff was possible at all!