Building Ancient Robots in Switzerland

From Great Big Story.

In a country known for their intricate watchmaking, one man is taking the mastery of machinery to another level—and to another era. Meet François Junod, a craftsman bringing back the ancient art of automata. Building automata dates back to ancient Egypt and is thought to be one of the earliest forays into robotics. First developed as a form of entertainment for royalty, automata are complex mechanical sculptures that combine watchmaking and anatomy to create objects that seemingly come alive. Today, Junod is assembling mechanical masterpieces out of his studio in Switzerland, taking the historical craft into the future.


This story is a part of our Planet Earth series. From mammals to insects and birds to reptiles, we share this great big world with all manner of creatures, large and small. Come with us to faraway places as we explore our great big planet and meet some of its wildest inhabitants.

This story is a part of our Human Condition series. Come along and let us connect you to some of the most peculiar, stirring, extraordinary, and distinctive people in the world.

This story is a part of our Frontiers series, where we bring you front and center to the dreamers, pioneers, and innovators leading society at the cutting edge. Let us take you along for a trip to the oft-imagined but rarely accomplished.

This story is a part of our Flavors series, where we do so much more than play with our food. Come with us as we dive into deliciously different and tastefully off-beat stories in the culinary world.

Got a story idea for us? Shoot us an email at hey [at] GreatBigStory [dot] com

Follow us behind the scenes on Instagram:
Make our acquaintance on Facebook:
Give us a shout on Twitter:
Come hang with us on Vimeo:
Visit our world directly: