automaton


au·tom·a·ton

noun \-ˈtä-mə-tən, -mə-ˌtän\

: a machine that can move by itself

: a person who acts in a mechanical or machinelike way

plural au·tom·atons or au·tom·a·ta\-mə-tə, -mə-ˌtä\

Full Definition of AUTOMATON

1
:  a mechanism that is relatively self-operating; especially :  robot
2
:  a machine or control mechanism designed to follow automatically a predetermined sequence of operations or respond to encoded instructions
3
:  an individual who acts in a mechanical fashion

Origin of AUTOMATON

Latin, from Greek, neuter of automatos
First Known Use: 1611

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms

centrifuge, differential, flange, lathe, linchpin, pinion, plenum, ratchet, traction

automaton

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Mechanical object, either functional (such as a clock) or decorative (such as a miniature singing bird), that is self-operating. Devices set in motion by water, falling weights, and steam were in use in the 1st century. Decorative mechanical objects were made for ecclesiastical use and table ornaments in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Spectacular fountains and waterworks can be seen in 16th-century Italian gardens; elaborate mechanical devices (such as the chess-playing Turk) were popular in the 18th–19th century. Except for some works by Carl Fabergé, the production of expensive automatons virtually ceased by the 20th century.

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