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10 robots and machines from the history books

Difference Engine

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Difference Engine, 1822

Charles Babbage designed the Difference Engine in 1822. Described as "an automatic, mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions," it is considered one of the earliest "programmable" machines. It was powered by simply cranking a handle. The London Science Machine created this machine (pictured here) based on Babbage's plans, completing it in 1991.