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10 robots and machines from the history books

Al-Jazari's Robot Band, 1206

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Al-Jazari's Robot Band, 1206

Al-Jazari was an Iraqi inventor who lived during the Islamic Golden Age. Described as a "scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman, artist, mathematician and astronomer," he built automated peacocks, drink-serving waitresses, and servants — all of them powered by water. Pictured here is his Robot Band, which is a "boat with four automatic musicians that floated on a lake to entertain guests at royal drinking parties."