Playful Robots

Published on May 23rd, 2012.

If you’re not sure what an automaton is, no worries, I didn’t either. It’s basically a mini-robot that was built to not do everything, but only one thing. That one thing could be something quite useful like the cuckoo clock or something more playful like what you’ll see below. Many of us have probably seen one, but just didn’t realize there’s a greater spectrum to these playful machines.

Kazu Harada was once like any other salary-man with a steady job that comes with long hours, suits and ties. After work, Harada would use his spare time making automatons for fun. Soon, he was putting so much time and effort into it that both he and his wife realized this can no longer be a hobby. So he quit his job, and put more effort into studying the craft more seriously by becoming an apprentice under automata makers Paul Spooner and Matt Smith at The Fourteen Balls Toy Company in England*. Through their tutelage, Harada learned more techniques and refined his skills. He’s now one of the top (if not only) automata maker in Japan.

His creations are especially captivating because there is a great sense of play and humor into his automatons. Most are activated through some sort of human interaction so it really brings back the feeling of playing with your toys as a kid. Check them out below and visit his YouTube Channel for more!

Decoy

Teddy Bear

Mechanism of Love

Air Sculpture

* SOURCE: The Automata/Automaton Blog

  • http://www.danielmcbane.com/ Daniel McBane

    Pretty cool. These remind me of the Lego Technik toys I used to play with as a child. I always turned them into little automatons of sort.