You are currently viewing Al Jazari

Al Jazari

In the 21st century, the prevalence and influence of robotics and artificial intelligence is increasing without measure. Despite the vast recognition and general appreciation technology has garnered, the contribution of early Muslim scholars to robotics and engineering is overlooked. Hence, this article is designated to one such individual whose contributions to technology have earned him the reputation of the “father of robotics” and the “water master” by historians due to his fabulous creations. 

Many claim that Jazari was the first person to bring the concept of “humanoid machines” into existence. His group of humanoid automatons, famously known as the “musical robot band,” is considered as the first programmable humanoid automaton. These musical bands of robots would sit on a boat floating on a lake to entertain guests at royal parties. The robots were known to be able to perform more than fifty facial and body actions during each musical selection.

A visual depiction of Jazari’s musical creation from his magnum opus, “The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices”  

    Al Jazari was an established engineer and though he enjoyed mechanics, he also focused on the artistic aspects of his creation with great zeal. He authored his magnum opus, “The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices,” which provides construction details of different mechanical devices and contains over 100 beautiful illustrations of these creations. Jazari was also dubbed a master of water as he was particularly interested in designing water-run devices, including sophisticated water pumps that supplied water to homes and farms as well as ornate peacock and elephant clocks that ran on hydropower. 

    A lot of things that we take for granted today were designed by and innovated upon by great individuals of the past. Though one may not find it necessary to study the history of where our current ideas and technologies stem from, we believe that there is much wisdom to be found in such stories. Individuals like Al Jazari have not only had a tremendous and undeniable impact on engineering, they are also a great source of motivation, showing us that no matter what time or culture we are living in, pursuing our passions always produces fruitful results. 


Leave a Reply