I just read this very enlightening post and videos about The Astrolabe and Antikythera Mechanism.
The Persian astrolabe image from Wikipedia
It's so amazing and beautiful. It looks like something that comes from a parallel universe totally different from our world today. But it's not. The technology was first discovered around 200 BC; spreading from the Greek to the Arabs and then to the rest of the world. It became popular in Europe on the 13th century.
It reminds me a lot of Lyra Belacqua's Alethiometer (from the Golden Compass, the first novel in Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials).
So what does this device do?
Basically it tells time. And it features a calendar; it can show you the prayer times (for Muslim); directions for Qibla; and more than 1000 functions in relations to astronomy, astrology, horoscopes, navigation, surveying, etc.
And it runs on mechanical measures only. No battery or electricity whatsoever needed.
It's like the greenest super-computer ever! :D How cool is that?!
It made me see things from a totally different point of view. That technology doesn't equals with electricity/ electronics. It means we (the human race) can be superbly advanced in technology, and doesn't necessarily need a single watt of electricity!
And the most beautiful thing is that, to use this device, you have to connect yourself with Nature. The Universe. Because to tell the time using Astrolabe, first you will need know the name and positions of the stars in the sky; as it will correlate with the constellations that already marked in your Astrolabe's plate. It means that you have to take your time, slowing down, look up to the sky, appreciate Nature's beauty, and then it means that you'll need to have a clear & unpolluted sky.
It's a device with highly advanced technology that let us work with Nature instead of protecting ourselves from Nature (the case with some recent "advanced" technologies); which most of the time leave us totally forgetting what and where we're coming from; and merrily destroying the Nature we're supposed to protect along the way. And with that, destroying our own future.
See the enlightening talk below :) :
And other mechanical technological wonders :
via The Franklin Insitute
via This Recording
The Antikythera Mechanism
via gotoknow.org and Wikipedia