Joe Jones was an avant-garde musician associated with the Fluxus group and especially known for his creation of rhythmic music machines. He first started experimenting with mechanical instruments in 1962, creating objects like musical boats, solar music umbrellas and a pedaled vehicle that pulled handmade instruments on wheels. Later, he worked with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the 1970s.
Relation to Automatons:
Joe Jones provides a good example of what automata look like in the modern day; his inventions were primarily for entertainment and the delight of onlookers.
While his inventions did not necessarily push the boundaries in terms of technology, several of them were still quite advanced for the time, including his continued use of solar power – something that is only becoming more widespread today.
Read more about Joe Jones on Wikipedia.