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Automation & Robotics in Muslim Heritage

Badi’ al-Zaman Abu ‘l-‘Izz Ibn Isma’il Ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari was a prominent medieval Muslim inventor. He lived during the 12th-13th centuries.

Al-Jazari’s book ‘Fi Maarifat Al-hiyal Al-handasiyya or Ingenious Mechanical Devices, was arguably the most comprehensive and methodical compilation of the most current knowledge about automatic devices and mechanics of its time.

The book systematically charted out the technological development of a variety of devices. That’s in addition to the mechanisms that both exemplified and extended the then-existing knowledge on automata and automation.

His book contained the results of 25 years of research and practice on various mechanical devices. In fact, it describes in details 50 devices which are grouped into six categories.

Many of these inventions may now appear to be trivial. But, the most significant aspect of these machines are the mechanisms, components, ideas, methods, and design features which they employ.

Al-Jazari’s work represents the culmination of the Islamic achievements in mechanical technology, containing most of the devices and techniques of his predecessors.

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