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A key claim made by Hero of Alexandria in his work Περί αὐτοματοποιητικῆς (On the making of the Automata, hereafter Automata) is that he has improved upon previously described automata, making them more feasible and more easily reproduced in practice. A three-year, Leverhulme-funded project is testing Hero’s devices and his claims. Working from a fresh analysis of the Greek text, the two automata described by Hero are being built, initially in the computer-aided design (CAD) package SolidWorks, and then in the physical world. A primary objective is to determine to what extent the Automata is a technical treatise, exaggeration/self-aggrandisement and/or a jeu d’esprit.