When Edison met Plato

The cause for this rendezvous was a virtual tour of the museum of ancient Greek technology Kotsana and a first contact with the exhibits housed there. Although it cannot replace, it can substitute all this enormous wealth one can see here. Everything is amazing and made us marvel the knowledges of our ancestors! One of them, although it was not the most complex, attracted our interest for the simplicity and intelligence that hides its conception, but also for the amazing use of water that is the subject of our project. This was Plato’s Alarm Clock!

The students Zahari Stefania, Alexakos Konstantinos, Kotsiaridis Stelina and Kourdi Melina of 6thClass undertook and created a comprehensive presentation of the specific exhibit so that we could all see and understand how it works.

It is a hydraulic alarm clock, which according to Athenaios was invented by Plato. The upper ceramic pot fed through a faucet (with an adjustable flow for each case) the next pot. When this filled up at the programmed time (eg after 7 hours), it was rapidly emptied through an axial siphon into the next pot and the contained air was forced out under pressure, whistling through a syringe at its top. Because the tube ended in water, its pulsating sound length created a chirping sound with different frequency tones. After its operation, the water in the pot was slowly drained through a small hole in its bottom to the lower storage pot, to be reused.

And thus the idea was born that Edison could be used in the same way that faucets and siphons were used by Plato!

Of course, Edison doesn’t have a siphon or a syringe, but he does have a beeper and in fact he can play any note and therefore “play” a composition that we will assign to him and which will play the role of an alarm clock. It also doesn’t have faucets to fill them, but our robot has sensors and a set of keys through which it can accept data, which in our case will be the time we want to sleep.

So we worked in the IT lab, got to know Edison’s capabilities through the command palettes in the Edscratch programming environment, and arrived at the following result.

Panos Pappas

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