12 May 2011 /

islamic automation: al-jazari’s book of knowledge of ingenious mechanical device

By gunalan nadarajan

The Kitab fi ma rifat al-hiyal al-handasiyya (The Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices) by Ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari was completed in 1206. It was arguably the most comprehensive and methodical compilation of the most current knowledge about automated devices and mechanics. (…)  This essay presents al-Jazari's Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (1206) as a significant contribution to the history of robotics and automation insofar as it enables a critical re-evaluation of classical notions and the conventional history of automation and therefore of robotics. Al-Jazari's work is presented as exemplary of what is called here "Islamic automation", where the notions of control that have informed the conventional history of automation and robotics are substituted by subordination and submission to the rhythms of the machines.”


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