Lego Antikythera Mechanism
About this video
Calculating the universe
The Antikythera Mechanism is an ancient scientific computer, designed to calculate astronomical positions and lunar events with unprecedented accuracy. Estimated to have been built sometime between 150–100 BCE it is considered to be the oldest known complex scientific calculator.
The machine is thought to have calculated the position of the moon and the sun (or other astronomical objects such as the planets) after the user has inputted the specific date using a hand operated crank. As the machine was created before the introduction of the Copernican system, it is based upon a geocentric model with the earth taking position at the centre of the universe (Ptolemaic system).
The machine was however lost to sea and it was not until 1901 that the device was recovered from the wreckage of a ship, just off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera (hence the name). Fast forward another century and scientists were finally able to uncover its true function through the use of high-resolution x-ray tomography.
The machine featured here is a fully functioning replica constructed in 2010 using Lego.