Leonardo da Vinci studied nature using the scientific ideas behind Renaissance art, such as perspective, light, proportions, and anatomy. He thought art was the highest visual knowledge of understanding nature. In all of his work, he looked for mathematical rules that explain how nature works. The laws told people how to explore nature through art, science, and technology. Every machine is a new “body” that takes natural ideas but doesn’t copy them. His ideas were based on scientific facts.
Here is a list of interesting inventions by Da Vinci
Da Vinci’s vision included huge projects for cities and armies and complex machines. The designs for the biggest machines were creative and were put on paper as a way to “show off” to clients. Here are nine of Vinci’s best works.
Pistol (the automatic weapon)
Leonardo didn’t like how long it took to reload the cannon between shots. Leonardo made a cannon with many barrels that rotated. It was a crude version of a modern machine gun.
Helix in the air (the helicopter)
Leonardo’s “helical aerial screw” was a spinning linen screw meant to squeeze air to make it fly, just like a helicopter does today. Leonardo came up with the idea of a vertical flying machine.
Leonardo made a modern anemometer when he was learning about flying. Leonardo added to Leon Batista’s design, which made it better. The anemometer that Leonardo made is beautiful and stylish.
Leonardo da Vinci’s spinning bridge was a feat of engineering, a military invention, and an early example of how to make things that come in flat packs. Duke Sforza built the bridge in the 1480s. It allowed armies to cross rivers and was easy to move quickly. The bridge was supposed to have a counterweight tank on each side to make it even. The design had wheels and a rope-and-pulley system that made it easy to set up.
Helicopter (the airplane)
Leonardo is credited with making it possible for people to fly. The idea for the Ornithopter, which flies by flapping its wings, came from taking apart bird and bat wings. His sketches changed the way airplanes were made for 400 years. The “ornithopter” had two wings that were 33 feet long and were made of wood (about 10 meters). The feathery frame was supposed to be made of pinewood, which is light and strong, and raw silk. The rod-and-pulley system would have let the pilot control the wings as they pedaled (bolstered by a hand crank that could increase the energy output).
Leonardo’s mind can think of anything. Leonardo’s 15th-century design for a diving suit is made of cane and leather tubes connected to a face mask and steel rings that can withstand the pressure of the water. The suit is based on systems that are already in place. The diving gear could possibly be used to attack enemy ships sneakily. The diving mask was supposed to have a balloon-like part to help the diver dive or come to the surface.
Self-propelled cart (the car)
The theatre cart moves by itself without being pushed. It had brakes with coil springs and steering that were already set. Due to how it “robotically” turned, the self-propelled cart may have been a precursor to modern cars. The self-propelled cart got a new look at Italy’s Institute and Museum of the History of Science.
Before Sebastian Lenormand in 1783, Leonardo came up with the idea for the parachute. His drawing is written: “A man can jump from any height without getting hurt if he has a linen tent that is twelve braccia wide and twelve braccia deep.” It’s hard to believe that the first parachutes were made 500 years ago. Leonardo’s idea for a parachute is a piece of linen that is sewn shut and held open by 22-foot-long wooden poles. With this technology, people can fly from very high up. Because his ideas were ahead of their time, technology couldn’t support them, so nobody made a real parachute until 1783.
The robotic knight was one of the first examples of automation that matched what Leonardo learned about how muscles work. The mechanical knight was made in 1495, and Duke Ludovico Sforza took it to Milan’s Court for a party. This “knight” could sit, stand, raise its visor, and move its head because of the mechanics inside its torso and lower body, which were spread out evenly.
Leonardo da Vinci was the most creative person of the Renaissance, but he didn’t change technology much. Da Vinci drew and wrote down plans for his inventions in his notebooks, but he never built them or couldn’t get his wealthy backers to pay for them, even though many of them couldn’t have been made with the technology of the time. Because he never shared his plans, no one knew what he had done until after he died and his notes were found. Scientists and engineers are still inspired by what he did.