back to article Apple chap knocks up ancient Lego computer

Apple software engineer Andrew Carol has rather impressively put together a replica of the ancient Antikythera Mechanism - built entirely from Lego. The Antikythera Mechanism. Photos: X-Tek The mechanism, constructed around 80BC, was recovered from the wreck of a cargo ship off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1901, but …


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  1. HollyHopDrive
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    Classic Lego too

    All that lego looked to be of the original kind from around the time when technical lego was first released, none of that modern crappy 'ben 10' shite.

    Thats the best purist lego thing I've seen in ages. But then there is also the classic lego printer. which if we are honest, we all want to own!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Huh? What, 1978?

      Not quite - those are the second version of the differential housings which were only phased out last year; the blue axle-pins make it more recent, and you're probably going to have a fit when I point out that practically none of those black structural beams have studs on...

      Still, let's see the Reg do it with Playmobil.

      1. HollyHopDrive

        I stand corrected

        You sir, are quite right.........

        Still, nice piece of engineering, if not totally purest in the lego sense. :)

  2. Code Monkey
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    That is magnificent. I was open-mouthed watching that. Beautiful!

    Time to get myself a set of those Lego Technic books for Christmas.

  3. CT

    Playmobil operator?

    Does it need a playmobil figure to operate it?

  4. fandom
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    Antikythera Mechanism

    Even since I first heard of the Antikythera mechanism I have been totally in awe of it. It never fails to amaze me how freaking intelligent some people, like the ones designing it, are.

    And the Lego replica is way cool.

  5. Michael H.F. Wilkinson


    I will post a link in our "History of CS" lecture web page

  6. Wemb

    Pah - plastic rubbish...

    I think this is much more impressive - Babbage's Difference engine, done in Meccanno

    1. CADmonkey

      Flame on! Go Go Lego Geeks FTW!

      Oh great...every time there's a Logo story, the usual Meccano fanbois roll in.

      Structural strength isn't everything, you know.



      1. Anonymous Coward

        That'd be 'oldbois', not 'fanbois'.

        Probably just James May sticking his oar in, anyway...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Bet they try to patent it now!

    1. Anonymous Coward


      They wont have a plastic block to stand on.....

      there is definately proof of prior art available...

  8. alien anthropologist
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    Earliest mechanical computer...

    ...or are there older ones yet to be discovered?

    1. Elmer Phud

      Please don't . . .

      . . .it'll just get them started on bleedin' Atlantis and angels and all that bollocks (again)

    2. Daniel 1

      Well obviously

      No one is going to come up with something like that from first principals, so there must have been predecessors. They were perhaps made from hardwood, however, since that's what larger geared mechanisms, in Babylonia and Greece at the time, were often made from, so they maybe won't have survived.

      The interesting thing is that with those straight-cut teeth the original must have been a bit of a bitch to turn over: nothing like as smooth as the Lego one. So whoever made it was a sight better at maths, than they were at engineering.

  9. TheOtherHobbbes


    Shouldn't this be an app?

    And predicting winning lottery numbers would be way more impressive.

    1. Dahak

      Would make perfect Christmas Present.

      Shouldn't this be a Lego Kit?

      It should sell as many as some of Lego's other high end items.

  10. mccp
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    Same guy has made a lego Babbage Difference Engine, and has his server space courtesy of Steve Wosniak.

  11. stucs201

    But can it play.... actually, I can't be bothered to make the Crysis joke today...

  12. Mike 16

    For the chip-makers

    That is, the folks who make chips with mills and lathes...

    And look at the rest of the stuff on her home page as well.

    Makes me feel like a terminally lazy oaf.

    1. kwhitefoot

      Thank you for posting that URL

      That made my day! It's a long time since I have seen such workmanship. Reminds me of some of the apprentice pieces made at the Swindon railway works.

      Some of the photographs are so clean, edges so sharp and straight, that for a moment I thought they might be 3D renderings.

      In an age where everything is mass produced and ephemeral such work stands out as a reminder that the latest gadget has a mayfly's lifespan but true craftsmanship is forever.

      She really should be better known.

    2. kwhitefoot
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      Another idea

      Perhaps she could take on the task of creating the Analytical Engine.

  13. John H Woods Silver badge

    And within a few hundred years...

    ... the parasitic meme of religion took hold of our gullible race and cost us at least a millennium of scientific and mathematical progress (and probably philosophical, ethical and social progress too).

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: And within a few hundred years

      Actually, I believe it already had. The original machine tracked the movement of the heavenly bodies through the sky, but modelled with the Earth as the centre, meaning that planets would stop part way across the sky and then turn round and head off the other direction! IIRC Mars' path is particularly impressive.

      To my mind this is even more impressive than the astrologically accurate Lego version!

    2. Bill B

      broaden your horizens

      I don't think that religion was the only factor, Chinese science was stifled more by politics than religion.

      1. jphb

        And the Greeks had problems .....

        The ancient Greeks knew how to build steam engines - but why

        bother when you've got slaves to do the work? The Anitkythera

        mechanism seems to have been a toy for the amusement of

        nobility rather than a practical device for the everyday world of

        commerce and trade. The Greeks were also

        stymied by an unbelievably clumsy way of writing numbers.

        And the military dictatorship that was Rome had little time for anything

        that wasn't immediately practical.

        None of these problems were related to their religious beliefs however.

        It should be noticed by those who enjoy knocking the effect of religion

        on scientific development that modern science was born and grew up

        in a very specifically Christian environment. This may be a pure

        coincidence of course.

  14. mhenriday
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    Beautiful !

    Absolutely frigging beautiful ! Hope the constructors will release a copy of the plans on the web - just the thing to work on in order to wile away those long midwinter nights !...


  15. Tigra 07
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    I always preferred K'nex though because it had more functions, including making a working grandfather clock.

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