Automata are mechanically operated devices designed to follow automatically a predetermined sequence of operations or respond to encoded instructions. In magic, automata are often used to create illusions of self-operation or life-like behavior.

The famous magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805–1871) was known for creating automata for his stage shows. Automata that acted according to a set of preset instructions were popular with magicians during 19th century.


The magician’s automata, a self-playing chess machine, fascinated the audience.

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