Leonardo da Vinci's Inventions

Mighty_Emperor

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da Vinci invented plastics

What didn't he do first? Probably only Marilyn Monroe ;)

b]Da Vinci Invented Natural Plastics[/b]

By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News


Feb. 4, 2004 — Leonardo da Vinci not only anticipated the airplane, the life jacket, the intercom and the robot, he also created the first natural plastic, according to an Italian scholar.

Alessandro Vezzosi, director of the Museo Ideale in the Tuscan town of Vinci, where the artist was born the illegitimate child of a Florentine notary and a peasant girl in 1452, found Leonardo's recipe for artificial materials in several pages of drawings and notes.

Written in Da Vinci's characteristic "mirror-image" handwriting, running from right to left, the notes had been found in the Arundel Codex (housed in the British Library in London), Forster Codex (in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum) and the Atlantic Codex (kept in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, Italy) and in manuscripts in France.

"He talks of a mixture. He combined colors with animal or vegetable glues, sometimes adding organic fibers," Vezzosi told Discovery News.

The Renaissance master obtained effects similar to plastic and unbreakable glass by "clothing with colors" the leaves of cabbage, lettuce, paper and even ox tripe.

The materials he coated ranged from "the back of the stomach of a heifer or a ox," "the leaves of wrinkle lettuce," "papers and little canes used as goose pens" and a "large Milanese wrinkled leaf of cabbage, which should be collected in December or January."

Following Leonardo's instructions, Vezzosi applied colors mixed with vegetable or animal glues. He then painted with many layers the materials described by Leonardo. As the first material dried, he removed it and obtained a material similar to bakelite, an early plastic that made a splash in the early 1900s.

"You have to be patient and wait until each layer of color dries completely. We used pigments similar to those applied by Leonardo. They ranged from traditional oil paint to any kind of organic materials," Vezzosi said.

The successful reproduction of Leonardo's natural polychrome plastic proved that the Florentine genius created the first man-made plastic long before Alexander Parkes invented parkesine (an organic material derived from cellulose) in 1862 and Leo Hendrik Baekeland's bakelite in 1909.

"Leonardo created a material somewhere between natural and chemical plastic. Indeed, he had already synthesized a chemical very similar to acetone. But in his experiments he always used non-toxic, organic substances," Vezzosi said.

Leonardo's polychrome mixtures were so similar to phenolic resin that they could be used to create knife handles, salt cellars, containers, and necklaces. Meanwhile, his monochrome mixtures could be used to create cups or vases that "once thrown on the floor don't break."

"It's interesting that Leonardo used layers ... to create unbreakable objects. In the case of oil painting, for example, linseed oil is the binding agent. This oil polymerizes slowly on contact with the air, forming a resistant, waterproof polymer similar to linoleum.

"This shows once again Leonardo's great innovative input — although obviously it doesn't add anything to our knowledge nowadays," Alessandro Bagno, professor at Padova University's department of organic chemistry, told Discovery News.
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20040202/leonardo.html

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Anonymous

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Somewhat dubious of the implication that he came upon this in isolation. Is Vezzosi unaware of the existence of Chinese/Japanese laquerware? The refined sap of the laquer tree (Toxicodendron vernicifluum I think) painted onto objects in layers and then submerged in water to set it: result, beautiful, resilient wares and furnishings, and even lightweight, waterproof wall sections. The late 1400s (over a century after Marco Polo) is definitely late enough for accounts of this process to be known in Italy; still recreating something from a possibly garbled account would still be impressive.
 

mejane

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A pedant writes...

A plastic is, by definition, a man-made material consisting of long-chain polymers. There's no such thing as a "natural" plastic.

da Vinci may well have invented (or re-invented) a new and useful product, but he didn't invent plastic.

Jane.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Leonardo Da Vinci: Angel or Antichrist

02/10/2004 14:46

Italian professor Alessandro Vezzosi is certain of the fact that numerous inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci required plastic.

The professor claims that he discovered recipes of the Florentine genius containing detailed descriptions of artificial man-made materials.

Vezzosi examined Da Vinci's manuscripts in several libraries in Britain, Italy and France. In the end, he discovered descriptions of mixtures resembling modern day plastics. The notes also included pictures.

According to professor, Da Vinci used animal and vegetable glues, at times adding organic fibers, cabbage leafs, salad and paper. In addition, Da Vinci synthesized a particular chemical similar to acetone. Following Leonardo's detailed manual, Vizzosi came up with something similar to bakelite cement (plastics of the early 1900s).

PS. Leonardo Da Vinci was an unusual man. He used to be referred to as Sorcerer, Wizard, Angel, and Antichrist. Nobody remained indifferent towards his persona. People either loved or hated Da Vinci. He remains a mystery for contemporaries even today.

In one of his diaries Leonardo Da Vinci recorded an interesting parable. A man was once told to get up because the sun has already been shining. The man replied, "If I needed to travel the same distance and do as many tasks as the sun, I would have woken up long time ago. However, I don"t have a long way to travel and therefore I do not want to get up." Strangely, centuries later, Leonardo himself will be referred to as someone who has awoken too soon for his epoch.

Magnificent and ecstatic Renaissance, mesmerized by beauty and perfection, remained absolutely indifferent to Leonardo's revolutionary inventions. Many of his contemporaries noted that master Leonardo wasted too much time on useless inventions, instead of fully concentrating on painting. They were even more distressed by the master's constant experiments with colors. Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" for instance, which the master decided to paint with oil paints, started to fade and crack in Leonardo"s living years. He could never devote himself to one task. Therefore, it took ages for him to complete his orders.

Leonardo was interested in everything that surrounded him. Among an entire array of interests, there was one Da Vinci was rather proud of. He was fond of "creating" stenches. Here is an excerpt from his diary. "If you want to create fabulous stench, take human fecal matters, smelly goose-foot, or cabbage. Place all of these ingredients in a can. Seal tightly. Store the can buried in manure for three months. You may then open the can.". Such absurd idea can only be fully understood in a special context. Da Vinci offered this method as a way to fight wars.

According to Giorgio Vazari, "Leonardo was magnificent and Godly. Son of Piero from Vinci; he could have reached amazing heights in science and literature, if only he wasn't so multitalented and inconsistent."

Leonardo Da Vinci studied many subjects. However, he did not have enough patience to master them fully. Da Vinci"s persona remained a mystery for many of his contemporaries. Nobody could fully perceive his identity. Maestro did not consume meat and slept only for 15 minutes every four hours. He was left-handed, which at the time was interpreted as an evil sign. In addition, Da Vinci used to write in a mirror reflection. He was often seen by gibbets sketching dead bodies trying to capture every single detail. The genius used to invite invalids, ugly, monstrously looking individuals to his house and sketch them. Was he a pervert or was he merely conducting another study? Low class people considered the master to be a heartless tyrant. A strange man with a beautiful face and sophisticated manners made people of low class tremble with fear. He was considered to be a sorcerer who played games with the Devil.

Some of Leonardo's inventions amazed representatives of the upper class. His intention to design a flying apparatus seemed absurd at the time. Leonardo's eagerness and aspiration to penetrate into the unknown and examine the limits of man's conscious scared people away.

"Only solitude provides the necessary freedom." These words can be found quite often in Leonardo"s diaries. And if we are to believe his contemporaries, the artist was absolutely free. He did not have close friends, never had lovers, rarely communicated with his relatives. He was not a patriot and could easily develop weapons for both parties involved in a fight.

Nobody understood Leonardo, yet people could not refrain from admiring his talents either.

Today's perceptions of Leonardo Da Vinci do not differ much from those of XV-XVI centuries. We still do not know who he really was. Leonardo devoted his diaries to observations, research, predictions, to anything but himself. Not all of the maestro's diaries survived. They were either lost or purposely hidden. This is just another mystery associated with the name of Leonardo Da Vinci.
http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/12014_Leonardo.html
 

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Da Vinci's Car

Da Vinci: Inventor of car?

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - Leonardo da Vinci is revered around the world as a master of Renaissance painting and an ingenious engineer, but few have thought of him as the father of the modern car. But on Friday, the Museum of History and Science in Florence -- the heart of Renaissance Italy -- unveiled the first "automobile" built based on some of the sketches from da Vinci's famous notebooks.

"This has been a big adventure which has also helped us to develop tools to help people unaware of Leonardo's scholarship understand this complex device," said Paolo Galluzzi, director of the museum. The primitive-looking contraption runs on springs instead of petrol and was probably intended to produce special effects at courtly events, but it was still the world's first self-propelled "vehicle", the experts said.

The "automobile" -- which in fact looks more like a wagon -- is by no means the first invention discovered in da Vinci's mysterious manuscripts, which include flying machines, helicopters, submarines, military tanks and bicycles. Born near Florence in 1452, da Vinci is thought of as the original "Renaissance Man" -- a talented painter, sculptor, engineer and musician.

Many of his ideas were recorded in notebooks now housed in museums and enjoying unprecedented popularity due to the best-selling novel the "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown. In 1905, Girolamo Calvi, one of the pioneers of da Vinci studies, noted the links between da Vinci's designs and the first motor cars which were beginning to take to the roads.

In 1936, Calvi referred to da Vinci's sketches as "Leonardo's Fiat" but it wasn't until very recently that scientists correctly interpreted his design and the models on display in Florence are the first reconstructions. Three "car" models, copies of da Vinci's sketches and an interactive digital simulation can be seen at the museum (http://www.imss.fi.it/news/eautomobile.html) until June 5.


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Interesting that they mention the bicycle. I heard that analysis of the ink showed the bicycle to be a doodle made by a monk while copying Leonardo's documents late in the 19th Century or something.

On the other hand, a self-propelled wagon could have been handy if one were planing particularly complex theatricals.
 
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Anonymous

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Perfect for a machine play.
I'm trying to find a link giving information on machine plays, but I'm not having much luck. Bit too obscure, methinks.
Heres a link to a later example.

The Medici Archive Project
 

Mighty_Emperor

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The Real da Vinci Code

Is his mysterious three-wheeled cart a proto automobile? A remote-controlled robot? A rolling Renaissance computer? The quest to rebuild Leonardo's "impossible machine."

By Tom Vanderbilt

I imagined the road to unraveling a 500-year-old Leonardo da Vinci mystery would take me down rain-slicked flagstones in the crepuscular shadow of a glowering Tuscan cathedral, or perhaps through the mote-strewn catacombs of a Florentine palazzo. Instead, my first stop is a prim brick colonial on a broad, verdant thoroughfare in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. I pull into the driveway and come to a stop in front of a tin-can robot standing astride the porch.

"My mother made it for me," explains Mark Rosheim, a roboticist who has produced designs for NASA and Lockheed Martin. His living room is dominated by two hulking cabinets, each filled with oversize editions of da Vinci codices. It is, the owner suggests with the slightest bravado, "the largest collection of Vinciana in the Midwest." He points to one set, a dozen volumes of the Codex Atlanticus, the thousand-page collection of drawings that is da Vinci's best-known work. "I got that one from Christie's in London through a telephone bid," he says. "That was before eBay. The auction was at 4 in the morning. It was very exciting."

On one wall, there is a family picture frame with a series of oval and square photos. "This is the whole Mark Rosheim saga," he says. His father's drugstore. His computer science-trained brother. His grandfather, a pioneering dentist who owned the first x-ray machine in Story City, Iowa. And Rosheim at a Cub Scout gathering at age 9. He is dressed as a robot.

As we tour the house, I get the feeling that Rosheim is not simply interested in studying da Vinci, but that he would like to be da Vinci. There are certain parallels. Da Vinci was self-taught and often referred to himself as an omo sanze lettere - a man without letters; Rosheim is a high school dropout. Da Vinci was apprenticed to Andrea del Verrocchio's workshop at age 15; Rosheim filed for his first patent - for a hydraulically powered servomechanism - at age 18. Da Vinci was determined to understand the architecture of the human body. By the time he was 65, he had dissected the corpses of more than 30 men and women of all ages. Rosheim is a student of kinesiology who has paid particular attention to the human wrist. In a basement workshop, he shows me a prototype of his Omniwrist, a joint that can move in any direction across a full hemisphere, without gears.

In the early 1990s, Rosheim's twin passions of da Vinci and robotics fatefully converged. After an Italian scholar showed Rosheim some recently recovered da Vinci drawings, Rosheim took a fresh look at what had been dubbed "Leonardo's automobile," a wooden three-wheeled cart. Da Vinci enthusiasts have reconstructed the automobile several times during the past century, but it's never worked. The device seemed destined to join the ranks of da Vinci's grandiose but flawed inventions - what one scholar called his "impossible machines."

To Rosheim, the machine was hardly impossible. Immersing himself in the minutiae of each sketch, gleaning inspiration from inventions that came later, he concluded that the device was not simply a spring-powered cart - as novel as that might be for 1478 - but something more radically innovative. Da Vinci's automobile, Rosheim maintains, is actually a robot with its own set of programmable instructions. This "precursor to mobile robots," Rosheim suggests, might even be "the first record of a programmable analog computer in the history of civilization."

The notion that da Vinci was some sort of proto-computer geek is not as far-fetched as it sounds. In a 1996 article in the journal Achademia Leonardi Vinci, Rosheim offered compelling historical and mechanical evidence that da Vinci had designed - and perhaps built - automata. Rosheim pointed to da Vinci's so-called Robot Knight, a cable-and-pulley-driven artificial man, which had been thought to be a simple suit of arms. Citing drawings discovered decades earlier by Italian scholar Carlo Pedretti, Rosheim explained how the figure "sat up, waved its arms, moved its head via a flexible neck, and opened and closed its anatomically correct jaw - possibly emitting sound while accompanied by automated musical instruments such as drums."

The robot, the theory goes, may have been commissioned by the Sforza rulers as court entertainment or an exhibit in a kind of mechanical sculpture garden. A finished drawing of the knight has never been recovered, but Rosheim, armed with mechanical aptitude and a strong knowledge of the history of robotics, was able to extrapolate its use from a patchwork of drawings. Paolo Galluzzi, director of Florence's Institute and Museum of the History of Science, described Rosheim's robot thesis as "absolutely convincing." Galluzzi included the knight in an exhibition and commissioned Rosheim to create a computer model. In 2002, Rosheim was invited by the BBC to build a prototype. His model was able to walk and wave - proving Rosheim's theory once and for all.

Vindicated, Rosheim revisited other da Vinci machines. His searching led to a 1975 article written by Pedretti, the same scholar who had done pivotal research on the knight. The article presented Pedretti's analysis of a new sheet of drawings discovered in a collection at Florence's Uffizi. They were sketched by an anonymous 16th-century draftsman but included copies of da Vinci's technological studies. Pedretti focused on one sketch that clearly outlined the function of the arbalest-like springs in the depiction of da Vinci's baffling three-wheeled cart. They were, he realized, not for power, as earlier scholars had thought, but for steering. Like an escapement mechanism for clocks, the springs retained movement but didn't generate it. He concluded that the movement must come from somewhere else. So Pedretti looked back at da Vinci's original drawing and noticed a faint circle in the center of one of the car's toothed gears. The little circle, he believed, was almost a suggestion to look for something transparent, something beneath the cart.

Perhaps there were larger coil springs, hidden inside the tambours, that would drive the cart.

I take all this in at Castel Vitoni, Pedretti's magisterial Italian estate, which commands a view of the Tuscan valley, including - not accidentally - the pastoral town of Vinci, Leonardo's birthplace. We sit in his office and pore over sketches of the cart on folio 812 recto of the Codex Atlanticus. I reach carefully for the espresso his wife has placed on the table, trying not to spill any on a nearby copy of the Italian mathematician Bernadino Baldi's 1589 translation of Heron of Alexandria's Automata. It is a first edition.

The sketch of the cart is not particularly impressive to look at. On the top of the page is a crudely drawn wagon with some sort of gear mechanism. The bulk of the page is dominated by a closer view of that mechanism, which combines a crossbow-like arbalest with the grooved gears and verge-and-foliot apparatus found in medieval clocks. On the periphery of the page, as on many Codex pages, there are details of component parts.

Though Pedretti had uncovered fragments of robot designs in da Vinci's sketchbooks, he couldn't figure out how they fit together. Rosheim, who had started corresponding with Pedretti after meeting him in 1993, began developing a CAD reconstruction and faxing documents to Pedretti at night. It was like a fill-in-the-blanks puzzle. "There's nothing saying, This is an automaton," Rosheim recalls, explaining how he contrived a robot. "I'm working with napkin sketches. It's very fragmentary stuff - otherwise it would have been done centuries ago." To divine what the artist envisioned for the cart's undercarriage, Rosheim tried to internalize the da Vinci method, studying myriad other drawings "to load it up into my subconscious" and inventing "an internal calculus to try and figure out everything."

One of the biggest breakthroughs, strangely enough, came not from da Vinci's own work but from a drawing Rosheim had of a karakuri, an 18th-century Japanese tea-carrying automaton (often resembling a geisha) - the Sony Qrio of shogunate Japan. The movement of the karakuri was determined by the placement of cams, small appendages on a wheel or shaft that engage a lever and convert rotary power to linear power. (Cams are still found in today's car engines.) Looking at the karakuri, Rosheim thought that da Vinci's cart might contain a similar arrangement. Sure enough, he found small camlike protrusions attached to one of the toothed wheels in da Vinci's drawing. The karakuri seemed to provide the missing link to understanding the cart's undercarriage - a perspective not shown in the sketches.

Rosheim's epiphany answered questions he'd been unable to resolve: How did the escapement work? How did you regulate the speed - in other words, the clock of the computer? How did that connect to the rest of the drivetrain? Once you understand the cams, the faint circles underneath the middle of the frame of the perspective view suddenly make sense, he says. "Obviously, they connect to one of those levers that's cam-controlled." The inspiration may have come from 18th-century Japan, but Rosheim says his ideas - unlike previous reconstructions - mesh perfectly with da Vinci's original design.

So here you had a small, front-wheel-drive cart no more than 20 inches square - many Codex illustrations are one-to-one scale fabrication drawings - that could, on the basis of spring-loaded power, be triggered via remote control and run a specific course, turning in a programmed direction at a certain point and perhaps even executing a "special effect" or two. What on earth was it for?

If Rosheim was able to supply the how of da Vinci's robot cart, Pedretti could offer a why: court entertainment. Da Vinci, he says, would have been 26 when he built the cart. It was 1478, and Florence was especially volatile: The Pazzis were conspiring against the reigning Medici family (da Vinci sketched the hanged Bernardo Bandini, who murdered Giuliano de Medici during the plot). The historical record offers no mention of da Vinci having built a cart. Pedretti, however, unearthed a potential clue. "I found a fantastic document, date 1600," Pedretti says. "It's a description of a banquet held in Paris to honor the new queen of France, who was a Medici. On that occasion, Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger observed the presentation of a mechanical lion. It walked, opened its chest, and in place of a heart it had fleurs-de-lis." Pedretti pauses, gathering more papers. "This document, which was totally unknown, says this was a concept similar to one that Leonardo carried out in Lyons on the occasion of Francis I." It appears da Vinci had engaged in high tech diplomacy circa 1515.

The cart, suggests Pedretti, may have been an early study in an emerging da Vinci sideline. Leonardo, he believes, created animated spectacles centuries before the great age of the European automata of Jacques de Vaucansan and Wolfgang von Kempelen. "The irony of the whole thing is that there is not a single hint in Leonardo's manuscripts of this greatest technological invention," Pedretti says. "Imagine to have a lion walk and stand on its legs and open up its chest - this is top technology!" What happened to those pages of drawings that would have revealed the inner workings of these wondrous devices? Perhaps they lie misfiled in some lost archive; perhaps they were destroyed by some church authority in the manner of Albertus Magnus' mechanical woman, smashed by Thomas Aquinas as a work of the devil.

Half a millennium on, the cart could, says Rosheim, not only rewrite the history of robotics but also bring another da Vinci to light: da Vinci the roboticist. "If it was simply a spring-powered cart, it would not be that big a deal," he says. "What's significant is that you can replace or change these cams and alter how it goes about its path - in other words, it's programmable in an analog, mechanical sense. It's the Disney animatronics of its day." The individual parts, interestingly, are not original to da Vinci - gears, cams, and the verge-and-foliot mechanism were all familiar concepts, particularly to clockmaking, the nanotech of da Vinci's day. Indeed, as the historian Otto Mayr has noted, "clocks and automata, in short, tended to be very much the same thing"; clocks, in 16th-century dictionaries, were considered just one type of automata. But the possibility is that da Vinci married two ideas and created, in essence, a clock on wheels - turning the segmenting of time into the traversing of space - well before anyone else had thought of such a thing. No one could have done it as elegantly, in so compact a package, says Rosheim. "The robot cart is one of the most significant missing links in studying Leonardo. Suddenly, many drawings are making sense."

Just down the road from Pedretti's villa, I sit for an hour staring at two wooden models of da Vinci's three-wheeled machine at the Vinci's Leonardo Museum. The reconstructions were built by the Milanese design firm Studio DDM, working with a Florentine carpentry shop. After weeks of peering at the faded filigree of ancient manuscripts, I find it strange to see da Vinci's drawings in three dimensions. The models look at once primitive and complex, like out-of-time machines, steampunk for the Middle Ages.

"A lot of people say that Leonardo's machines will not work," says DDM's Mario Taddei the next day, as we gaze at his laptop. We are sitting in a Florence café overlooking the Arno, a body of water da Vinci had once proposed rerouting to the sea. "Half of them are perfect, half are not so perfect." Taddei, who's interested in blending the world of historical museums and videogames, is showing me CAD drawings of the robotic cart. "The design was so perfect," Taddei says, "that the first time we built the machine and charged the spring engine, it worked perfectly - something very strange in the world of Leonardo reconstructions." Taddei credits Rosheim for the central idea of cam-driven programmability and says his team used Rosheim's drawings, making subtle changes along the way.

Rosheim had only one comment on the reconstruction: "They apparently didn't figure out how the escapement mechanism works, because theirs just kind of runs really fast and then runs out of steam." When I speak with him several weeks later, he is nearing completion on his own reconstruction, which he has been building in his basement with his own money. The model, along with another "top secret" reconstruction, will accompany his book, Leonardo's Lost Robots. He tells me his model backs up the theory of his original drawing. "As you see in Codex Atlanticus folio 812, Leonardo has one half of the right large gear with cams and the other half with none. This generates a left-right zigzag motion."

Whatever the minor technical differences between Rosheim's vision and the handiwork of the builders at DDM, the cart provides further evidence that da Vinci was a Renaissance roboticist. Of course, absent the complete drawings of the cart, we will never know exactly what da Vinci had in mind. The cart will remain among his many inventions and artworks that plague scholars the world over. It's ultimately part of that grand guessing game: Who was Mona Lisa? Why did da Vinci leave Florence for Milan? Why did he not complete The Adoration of the Magi or any number of other major commissions? Was his glider ever launched?

"Leonardo is the Hamlet of art history," says art historian Kenneth Clark, "whom each of us must re-create for ourself." Da Vinci has been credited with inventing just about everything but the Internet. Now, from the faintest of sources, an American roboticist and an Italian Renaissance scholar have discovered another Leonardo: The creator of Hollywood-style special effects, perhaps even a lost progenitor of the programmable computer, is coming into frame.
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.11/davinci.html?tw=wn_tophead_6
 

Rubyait

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Da Vinci clue for heart surgeon

A UK heart surgeon has pioneered a new way to repair damaged hearts after being inspired by artist Leonardo da Vinci's medical drawings.
The intricate diagrams of the heart were made by Leonardo 500 years ago.

Mr Francis Wells from Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, says Leonardo's observations of the way the heart valves open and close was revelatory.

Mr Wells has used this understanding to modify current repair operations, and has successfully treated 80 patients.

The drawings allowed him to work out how to restore normal opening and closing function of the mitral valve, one of the four valves in the heart.

Until now, surgeons have repaired a floppy valve by narrowing its diameter. However, this can restrict the blood flow further when the individual is exercising and working their heart to the maximum.

Mr Wells said: "It's a complete rethink of the way we do the mitral valve operation.

"What Leonardo was saying about the shape of the valve is important. It means that we can repair this valve in a better way."

Valve repair

The job of the mitral valve, which is made up of two flaps, is to stop blood flowing in the wrong direction in the heart.

It works a bit like a pair of doors, slamming shut to stop blood returning from where it came.

In some people it stops working properly, and becomes like a swing door, letting blood flow backwards through it, which means the heart has to work harder to do its job of getting blood out into the arteries and around the body.

Narrowing the diameter of the valve opening with surgery helps, but Mr Wells, with help from Leonardo, believes he has found a better way.

Leonardo worked out in the 1500s that the opening phase of the mitral valve was extremely important - this can be compromised with conventional surgery because the opening is made narrower than normal.

Mr Wells says he can now repair the floppy mitral valve in such a way that it does not alter the normal diameter of the valve when it is open which means that the individual can return to more vigorous exercise without any problems.

He said Leonardo had a depth of appreciation of the anatomy and physiology of the body - its structure and function - that perhaps has been overlooked by some.

The Italian artist had no formal medical training and brought together a number of disciplines, including mechanics and engineering, when he looked at a problem.

Mr Wells is now looking back at many of Leonardo's other drawings of the body to see if these might help medicine now.

Mr Wells and Leonardo feature in The Secret of Drawing which begins on BBC Two on October 8.

London's Victoria and Albert museum will be hosting an exhibition of Leonardo's work in art, science and technology starting 14 September 2006 to 7 January 2007, in collaboration with Universal Leonardo, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, London.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4289204.stm
 

bagins_X

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mejane1 said:
A pedant writes...

A plastic is, by definition, a man-made material consisting of long-chain polymers. There's no such thing as a "natural" plastic.

da Vinci may well have invented (or re-invented) a new and useful product, but he didn't invent plastic.

Jane.
To be even more pedantic plastic just means flexibel i.e. not brittel so there are materiels that are naturely plastic... but I wouldn`t say laquer was one of them.

Wm.
 

EnolaGaia

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This seems to be the most appropriate thread for this (2016) item, even though it relates more to 'science' than 'invention' per se ...

Leonardo da Vinci—the first systematic study of friction
Friction is immensely important to us – without it, for example, we could not walk or even crawl – yet it is only 50 years since a special word – 'tribology' – was first coined to describe its study. Professor Ian Hutchings has recently had a paper published on Leonardo da Vinci and his studies of Friction.

The first systematic study of friction dates back more than 500 years to Leonardo da Vinci. That much has been known for some time, but Professor Hutchings has now identified the notes and sketches in which Leonardo first recorded the laws of friction, and has shown that he went on to apply them repeatedly to various mechanical problems for more than 20 years. Based on a detailed study of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks, Professor Hutchings' research examines the development of Leonardo's understanding of the laws of friction and their application. His work on friction originated in studies of the rotational resistance of axles and the mechanics of screw threads, but he also saw how friction was involved in many other applications. He pursued the topic for more than 20 years, trying to use his knowledge in models for different mechanical systems. Well-known diagrams which have been assumed to represent his experimental apparatus are misleading, but his work was undoubtedly based on experiments, probably with lubricated contacts. Although his work had no influence on the development of the subject over the succeeding centuries, Leonardo da Vinci holds a unique position as a pioneer in tribology. ...
SOURCE: http://phys.org/news/2016-05-leonardo-da-vincithe-systematic-friction.html

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0043164816300588

http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/...ark-the-spot-where-he-first-recorded-the-laws

http://www.sciencealert.com/enginee...-discovery-in-da-vinci-s-irrelevant-scribbles
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
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Da Vinci didn't win a commission for building an envisioned bridge spanning the Golden Horn (Turkey), but his bridge design was remarkably elegant and robust.
Da Vinci's Forgotten Design for the Longest Bridge in the World Proves What a Genius He Was

Leonardo da Vinci was truly a Renaissance man, impressing both his contemporaries and modern observers with his intricate designs that spanned many disciplines. But although he's best known for iconic works such as "Mona Lisa" and "Last Supper," in the early 16th century, da Vinci designed a lesser-known structure: a bridge for the Ottoman Empire that would have been the longest bridge of its time. Had it been built, the bridge would have been incredibly sturdy, according to a new study.

In 1502, Ottomon ruler Sultan Bayezid II requested proposals for the design of a bridge that would connect Constantinople, what's today Istanbul, to the neighboring area known as Galata. Da Vinci was among those who sent a letter to the sultan describing a bridge idea.

Though da Vinci was already a well-known artist and inventor, he didn't get the job, according to a statement from MIT. Now, a group of researchers at MIT has analyzed da Vinci's design and tested how robust his bridge would have been if it were built. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/da-vinci-bridge-never-made.html
 

Kondoru

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Fuss, fuss.

`Plastic` is a quality and not a type of material.

It means you can shape it.

Clay, has plastic qualities. So has resin and rubber.

Horn, is a thermoplastic. You heat it up to sofen it, reshape it, and it hardens on cooling.
 
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