A 2,000-year-old device known as The Antikythera Mechanism — widely called “the world’s oldest computer” — has been recreated by scientists conducting research into how exactly it worked.
The hand-powered bronze mechanism was discovered on a Roman-era shipwreck in Greece in 1901 and researchers believe that it was used to predict eclipses and other astronomical events.
But scientists have struggled for decades to detail precisely how the device functioned and what it looked like — especially on the front side — because only one third of it has survived.
The mechanism’s front portion remains particularly challenging to decipher due to its sophisticated gearing system. But scientists figured out the back of the device during prior research.
According to a report by the BBC, a team of researchers from University College London think they have finally solved the puzzle using 3D computer modeling. The UCL scientists recreated the entire front panel of the Antikythera Mechanism and are now working to create a full-scale replica with modern materials.
A paper published in Scientific Reports on March 12 showed a new display of the gearing system that showed its finer details and complex parts. Scientists had to recreate the mechanism’s front panel using X-Ray data and an ancient Greek mathematical method.
In the video below, University College London researchers and experts explain their effort to understand the full capabilities of the Antikythera Mechanism and how accurately it was able to predict astronomical events.
The device is housed at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece.
Featured image credit: Exploded model of the Cosmos gearing of the Antikythera Mechanism. ©2020 Tony Freeth, University College London.
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