One of the things that always has fascinated me is machines (and I mean the basic definition of machine here - “…a device that simply transforms the direction or magnitude of a force” ).
So I just thought I’d bring together a few of my favourites - each of which represents a radically different perspective on an existing engineering challenge. For me, these are all examples of the power of synthesising creative and analytical thinking.
We start with magical gears, where geometry is used to generate three axes rotating in the same direction at different speeds. This exemplifies alternative thinking about an existing problem and it looks fantastically beautiful as well :
Next up is Theo Jansen with his living sculpture machines. I really like these for a number of reasons - you can look at them as beautiful objects, amazing machines or even as physical mathematics (if you’re that way inclined):
And finally, the list wouldn’t be complete without the Most Pointless Machine in the World :
So, why not have a go at taking a simple machine from Chambers’ Cyclopedia and trying different ways of solving the ‘problem’?
(Chambers, Ephraim (1728), "Table of Mechanicks", Cyclopaedia, A Useful Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (London, England) Volume 2: p. 528, Plate 11. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Table_of_Mechanicks,_Cyclopaedia,_Volume_2.png) )