Antikythera Mechanism built by LEGO bricks

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Georacer, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. Georacer

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    Engineer Andrew Carol re-built the mechanism of Antikythera using only LEGO bircks, making a contraption that immitates the original's functions accurately. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLPVCJjTNgk

    Me being a huge LEGO fan, this leaves me in awe...

    The Antikythera Mechanism is a primitive ancient computer of sorts, that using gears only, could predict astronomical positions. It was found in 1900 AC in a shipwreck, near the greek island of Antikythera. It is dated back to 150-100 BC. When a date was entered via a crank (now lost), the mechanism calculated the position of the Sun, Moon, or other astronomical information such as the location of other planets. Since the purpose was to position astronomical bodies with respect to the celestial sphere, with reference to the observer's position on the surface of the Earth, the device was based on the geocentric model.

    More on the mechanism on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism#Speculation_about_its_purpose
     
  2. thatoneguy

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    That's pretty awesome! The video production itself is "movie quality".

    I wish lego had more gear sizes. Actually, what I wish for is Erector to have more metal gears.
     
  3. beenthere

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    That might let someone make Babbage's Difference Engine with them.

    It looks like the Antikythera Mechanism is the Difference Engine of its time.
     
  4. nerdegutta

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    Awesome video!
     
  5. Georacer

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    Wikipedia reads that the mechanism competes in complexity and manufacturing quality the 19th century swiss clocks.

    Quite a feat for the 1st century BC. And it was portable too!
     
  6. jpanhalt

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    Is a calculator based entirely on gear ratios analog or digital?

    John
     
  7. bertus

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  8. Georacer

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    Either these guys are very professional or they have a lot of free time...
     
  9. retched

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    Pbbtt... I could do that with 3 Capsela blocks...
     
  10. loosewire

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    Speaking of free time, Facebook staff has free time.
    There work space have legos,there staff is encouraged
    to doddle around with all the games and continue thinking
    all the time. They skate board and use bikes and all kinds
    transportation. They keep them busy so they will forget
    about leaving,they feed them at work.
     
  11. Georacer

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    I thought that was Google...
     
  12. thatoneguy

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    Analog.

    The Bomb sights in WW II that used gears for calculation of airspeed, groundspeed, windspeed, and bomb profile were called analog computers, so I suppose that would apply to any mechanical solution.

    Digital is the realm where any signal or measurement was converted to binary for processing through gates/memory. Analog with electricity example would be op amps which simulate springs, dashpots, and levers in real life.

    From the dictionary:
     
  13. loosewire

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    Facebook is hiring alot google empolyee's,google is going
    to be number 2 if not already. Face book may pass google
    up.
     
  14. jpanhalt

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    @thatoneguy
    So then all watches are analog. It is only the display that may be a digital representation, right?

    John
     
  15. thatoneguy

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    Not if there is a binary representation of time to display. Swiss geared/jeweled watches are analog, but a Casio G-Shock isn't, particularly any that set their time from WWVB.

    In between, Hybrids exist. Analog is in all digital circuits, sometimes intentionally, but usually not intentional, which limits the speed system can run at.
     
  16. jpanhalt

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    Well, is a divide by 3 circuit using flip-flops analog or digital? Why isn't a divide by 3.xx using gears and an escapement the same?

    It is the flip-flop that actually got me wondering about modern classifications vs. marketing glitz. For example, Wikipedia describes the first "digital" watch in about 1920's and the Pulsar watches as being digital. The first was done with gears and simply had a digital readout (an escapement mechanism can avoid the matter of in-between states). The Pulsar could be done with gears too.

    John
     
  17. Georacer

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    Quartz watches are admittedly much more accurate that spring-loaded clocks, for example and it is nescessary to build a digital circuit to harness the crystall's accuracy.

    Another matter is that digital circuits consume much less energy and suffer less from degradation and wear.

    On the downside, it can be very tricky to solve a problem with a digital construct. Think of how many multiplication algorithms exist for the binary algebra. On the analog realm of two gears, you have a set gear ratio and by turning the first gear x times, the other is turned automatically by {x times the ratio}.
    But at what cost, with what accuracy, in what time and untill when?
     
  18. R!f@@

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    Now that's what I call creativity.
    Pretty good.

    One question though....
    Does Lego actually have those parts as play toys.

    And I like to know what kinda software is used in the animation.
    Are they pretty powerful or expensive..
    What can I use in my level of work. I like to draw my Engraver Machine before I buy the parts. What kinda software are used to animate/draw those kinda objects.
     
  19. thatoneguy

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    A "Digital" Display is different than operating in the digital realm. There are clocks that move pieces of wood around to shape numbers, much like a 7 segment display. Making digits through this method could possibly not involve digital electonics at all (though the example I am thinking of does use a uC).

    Digital systems are essentially systems that use electronic level based (typically binary, but multi-valued logic exists) arithmetic to provide output. Analog systems do not assign values to levels, the measured voltage or current has no discrete steps as digital does.
     
  20. Georacer

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    Yes, all these parts, even the differential, are official LEGO parts. The olny exception are the printed paper gauges :cool:

    LEGOs are expensive toys, as a general rule, but they never break. You buy them for life. Except if you leave them to rot for 3 years in the mercy of the elements like a friend of mine did. Then yes, the plastic will become brittle and fail.

    There are a couple of LEGO design softwares. Some are free and supported by LEGO. It makes sense, since they tease you with all those extensive libraries and then you decide to actually buy the parts. However they support only LEGO parts and will be of little use for any other purposes. Last time I checked was 2 years ago, with a software named LEGO Digital Designer. It had some issues though with too many block conflicts in the 3D space.

    P.S. From now on I will stop capitalizing the word "lego".
     
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