A Brief History of Mechanical Horses
For most of human history, horses have been, primarily, a technology. An intimate technology, yes — people named their horses, and groomed them, and sometimes loved them — but horses were, for the most part, tools: They helped humanity to get around and get things done. Once steam power and internal combustion came along, though, that relationship changed drastically. As horses were eclipsed by more efficient methods of moving people and things — trains, cars, planes — their role in human culture shifted, as well. We quickly came to see horses more as what they had been, of course, all along: fellow animals.
That shift is evident in a longstanding dream that is a little bit fanciful, a little bit practical, a little bit silly, and a little bit wonderful: the quest for the mechanical horse.
Read more. [Images: Google Patents, Modern Mechanix, Boston Dynamics]