History has masses of lessons for innovators, and The Ideas Machine team love this one…. hail the Antikythera. Acknowledged as a work of genius, it is a effectively an ‘analog’ computer……. yes, a computer, discovered at the turn of the 20th century and over two thousand years old. The Antikythera’s geared mechanism has been an historical and scientific challenge for various academics for years and remains an object of awesome mystery. It represents an incredible technological achievement, the like of which we tend to attribute to our own and recent centuries- the Antikythera is a lesson in widening that perspective. Remember how much history has to offer when we think about innovation.
In 1901, a group of divers excavating an ancient Roman shipwreck near the island of Antikythera, off the southern coast of Greece, found a mysterious object – inside a lump of calcified stone were several gearwheels welded together after years under the sea. The 2,000-year-old object, no bigger than a modern laptop, is now regarded as the world’s oldest computer. It was seemingly devised to predict solar eclipses and, according to recent findings, calculate the timing of the ancient Olympics! Amazing, we like to think of things like calculators and computers as ‘modern’ inventions of our century- but the Antikythera is 2000 years old! Check out how the discovery confounded academics for years and how its mysteries are now being unraveled in the Youtube film here.