The Monkbot From the 1500s

In the mid 1500s the Spanish Crown was in trouble. The crown prince had an accident and his life was in danger. King Phillip II then made a strange deal with God: He promised God that if God caused a miracle and healed his son, Phillip would repay God with a miracle of his own.

After the prince miraculously recovered, King Phillip commissioned a clockmaker to build a mechanical monk, and… well, the guys from Radiolab can explain it better than I.

Listen to the story.

Watch the mechanical monk in action.