Modern Technology

We’ve seen so many incredible new pieces of technology in recent times that it’s easy to forget that there are numerous ideas that have been around for a very long time. If we look at the example of the technology that the Ancient Greeks created, we find some surprising entries that change our view of modern technology.

The First Analog Computer

You might know that Charles Babbage created the first modern computer in the 1800s, with a device that could carry out fairly simple calculations. However, we need to go back to around 150 BCE to find the Antikythera mechanism, which was a device apparently created for astronomical purposes that allows the user to predict eclipses far in advance of them happening. While modern computers look very different from this ancient device, it’s fitting that Greek mythology is a popular subject online.

Computers now give us access to a wealth of information on Greek culture, as well as entertainment options based on it. Look for online slots for fun and you’ll see titles such as Monsters Unchained, Wisdom of Athena, and other games based on this culture. Symbols including Greek Gods and classic architecture are often used, and they feature alongside themed slots from Ancient Egypt and Rome. Many documentaries and movies based on Greek mythology can be streamed too, such as Clash of the Gods from the History Channel, letting us understand this period better while using a device whose origins date back to then.

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Vending Machines

Vending machines are now so popular and varied that we can find fascinating examples such as a gift dispenser in Dubai, an art machine in the US, and a vending machine that releases bananas in Japan. It’s estimated that there are some seven million vending machines around the planet, with some sources suggesting that there are five million in Japan alone.

To find out about the early history of vending machines, we need to see the details of an invention by the engineer Heron of Alexandria for a device that dispensed holy water. It was activated by depositing a coin, which caused a lever to open a valve and let a small quantity of water pour out before closing again. The same inventor is also believed to be the first person to create a wind-powered machine.

Automatic Doors

Automatic doors become widespread in the 20th century and are now seen in many buildings all over the world. The introduction of optical devices and mechanisms hidden in the mat have made them easier to operate, but we need to go back to the first century BCE to find the first attempt to create doors that opened automatically.

Heron of Alexandria was the inventor in this case too. His automatic door system was created for a temple and involved heating water to produce steam that was collected to then open the doors using a series of ropes and pulleys. This was possibly the world’s first steam engine and is sometimes called Hero’s Engine or aeolipile.

These examples show us how many of the pieces of technology we take for granted aren’t as modern as we thought. While more recent engineers and inventors have perfected the models in a lot of cases, the inspiration for these machines comes from one of history’s most interesting cultural periods.

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