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Engineers design, build and maintain just about everything in society. From homes, bridges and hospitals they do it all. However, for someone to call themselves an engineer it is not such a simple task. To be an engineer it takes years of dedication and hard work, but it also involves a large amount of natural artistic talent and the ability to visualize complex inventions in the mind. However, with the computer software’s in todays age so advanced, many engineers forget about the very important historical roots in which the profession stemmed from and all the amazing engineering pioneers that hand crafted all their ideas that seemed the impossible into a reality. Without the use of any software, all this was possible because the pioneers of engineering were so brilliant and creative, although there are many amazing historical engineers. One man in particular left a very large impact on society forever, and his name was Leonardo DaVinci. Leonardo DaVinci was born in a small town called Florence, Italy. He grew up with a love and passion for how things worked and had so many ideas of what could be invented, and he also always had an interest in how it could be created and function in the real world. Davinci was such an interesting and fascinating man because most the amazing engineers and artists of all time, have had a background of attending the most well known and prestigious institutions.
However, Davinci never attended any type of school, he was a self-made man with a hunger and desire for knowledge. He is most well known for his beautiful painting called the Mona Lisa, being the grandfather to aviation and the creator for vehicles of warfare. The piece of artwork known as the Mona Lisa was painted by Davinci, the painting was completed in the year of 1503 (totalhistory. com). Leonardo was a very mysterious man, behind every line and edge drawn there was some sort of story or message he was trying to send to the audience. For example, if one were to look closely at the piece of artwork, a sort of mourning garment that represents the subject in the art work was mourning the death of someone close or a loved one can be seen. The mourning head cover and the Mona Lisa itself has been a mystery for centuries and although different historians and people have their own theories behind what made Davinci create such a piece it is not for sure known. Due to the pure beauty of the artwork, it was stolen from the “Louvre Museum in 1911” (totalhistory. com) and was not found until two years later, the massive scare was that the masterpiece would have been ruined by the thieves, but thankfully it was found and returned safely two years later to the same Museum, but is now protected by thick bullet proof glass and a thick barricade. The amount of questions and potential theories to what caused Davinci to create such a beautiful piece of artwork, but the mysteries contribute greatly to the beauty of the art. Davinci was a man born with a mind that naturally revolved around the art of engineering, he was fascinated with anything that involved mechanics. Davinci had a gift, he had amazing artistic ability and a mind of an inventor. This allowed Davinci to clearly draw whatever he was imagining, Davinci would always draw descriptive diagrams of whatever he wanted to invent. According to an article on the British Library “Davinci’s notebook incorporated over 7000 pages of ideas and inventions. ” However, it did not take long in the 1500’s for very important people to hear about the amazing artist and inventor. The complex illustrations Davinci could draw and apply to real world applications, made him a very popular and desired man. He was recruited as the Chief Military Engineer in the Popes army (ModernNotion. com) to design machines that could be used for war. His most popular invention made for war was the assault boat. Which has strong similarities to the modern day tank. The popularity Leonardo was getting caused him to become very cautious about his designs, due to at that time there were no copyright laws. The scare of people stealing his amazing ideas, caused Davinci to begin drawing inventions in code, backwards or even drawn in the wrong sequence.
Aside from being a well-known military engineer, Davinci had a special interest in robotics and aviation. He is known today as the grandfather to aviation, due to his amazing contributions to what we know today as flight. In the early 1500’s, nothing flew except birds. The way birds flew intrigued Leonardo and fired his ambition to create an object that allowed human to fly. During those times there was no prior research Leonardo could use to help him create a flying object. This was simply due to the fact there was no prior research to base his future invention from, he observed the way birds flew, and their ability to maneuver so effortlessly. Davinci wanted to design something that acted much like a bird, so what he did was design a machine that gave humans similar components as birds. This invention was called “The Flying Machine” (Wrightstories. com), the flying machine was man powered. Using pedals to power two cranks that produced a forward movement, and wings attached to the subject’s arms that were used to create a lift force by flapping them, much alike how birds flap and angle their wings to produce lift forces. Unfortunately, die to the lack of knowledge in the aviation industry at that time, the invention never was able to create any type of flight. DaVinci, was a very ambitious man and went back to his book of drawing and came up with another idea, similar the flying machine, but with a twist (literally).
It did not take long before Davinci gave flight another attempt. The next machine Leonardo would design, was called the “Helicopter” (Wrightstories. com). The original idea Davinci proposed, is what gave what society knows today as a helicopter its name. The helicopter Davinci designed, looked like a massive screw. The helicopter was to be powered by humans, due to the fact that the invention of engines was not around yet. A problem Leonardo came to realize, is that one human was not creating enough power to create flight. As well, the aerodynamics of the flying machine were off. He believed there needed to be more area in the wings to generate a lift force. To create flight, Davinci designed the helicopter to be powered by four humans, pushing shafts in a circle in hope to create enough power for the helicopter to pull itself into the air. However unfortunately, the helicopter never made it off the ground, due simply to a common problem Davinci was faced with. The weight to power ratio was much too high. Although the flying machine and helicopter never got to create flight, little did Davinci know that his designs and application would be modified and widely used as the most important machines society has. Society uses helicopters to save people in remote areas by bringing food, supplies, the helicopter also moves military personnel around in remote areas to defeat enemies. As well, planes are used today, to move people around much faster to places all over the globe. Without Davinci’s original ideas, it is not known if humanity would have ever seen flight.
Davinci was also the first person to design a robot in history. The robot he designed could perform human duties, by sitting, standing, walking and moving the neck jaw and arms. Leonardo’s original robot design was based off his interest in human anatomy, he wanted to design something that could operate exactly like a human could. Once people saw that he could design something to spectacular, the Venetian army wanted him to design robots that could operate in combat. Davinci designed robots the army could use for combat, the way the robots operated was, in the places that human muscles would he replaced them with pulley systems. The pulley systems were powered by gears and cranks that propelled the robot. Although the military wanted Davinci to build a weapon that could kill, Leonardo was always against the idea of killing people, so he designed the robots to be able to wound the enemy. The use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawings is very common in todays age. Many people believe that the use of drawing by hand has gone obsolete due to the reliance of CAD drawings.
However, this is not the case, engineers need high artistic abilities and techniques because in order to represent what an engineer pictures in their mind, they must be able to sketch and label what they are visualizing first before using CAD to get a finished product. Davinci was the real pioneer of engineering and invention, he had an artistic ability tied with a creative mind. This allowed Leonardo to clearly draw what he was visualizing and lead to many amazing inventions that came much before their time. To obtain a job in todays very competitive engineering field, engineers seeking employment must prove their artistic abilities on paper before using CAD. Davinci was a very talented artist and engineer, the inventions he had the ability to create in the 1500’s was amazing. With no prior designs to base his ideas off, he used his creativity to create what he was visualizing into a reality, the designed he made in the early 1500’s are still used today in many of the most advanced fields aerospace, aviation, and military technology. As well, his painting created centuries ago is still admired and the Mona Lisa brings tourists from all over the world and is recorded as the most valuable paining in the world today. As well the techniques used by Davinci to represent his inventions that were created in his mind on paper is still taught to young aspiring engineers in university and college.
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