Leonardo da Vinci inventions and projects represent an intriguing starting point to remark the concept that innovation must be considered as a continuous route towards evolution in history. Some of the particular ideas and innovations presented by Leonardo da Vinci led us to formulate a link with automatic control. Selected models of the Leonardo da Vinci machines are presented in this paper, taking strictly into account the original mechanical schemes and working principles, but introducing modern low-cost control equipment, emphasizing the role of automatic control and that of electronic control devices, such as microcontrollers, sensors, and communication devices, to completely automate the Leonardo da Vinci machines. The approach outlined in the paper can be applied not only to other Leonardo machines but also to other mechanical equipment not necessarily designed by Leonardo da Vinci. Moreover, it is useful to remark that the approach followed in this paper can be very important also to introduce students, leading by example, to concepts typical of automation and for assisting in learning, keeping in mind the practical applications of advanced automation principles. The main research task of this paper is proving the efficacy of modern digital control techniques and teleoperation in strongly classical mechanical Leonardo machines, remarking that the projects of Leonardo are prompt to be efficiently controlled. This task could not be explored by Leonardo himself due to the lack of control technology. Moreover, the paper is addressed also to stimulate the young generations of engineers in joining classical mechanics with advanced technology. Therefore, the paper is also devoted to give focus on the fact that the Leonardo machines encompass all the key aspects of modern system engineering.
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