Research Papers

Reconstruction Designs of the Lost Structures of the Antikythera Mechanism With Two Degrees of Freedom

[+] Author and Article Information
Jian-Liang Lin

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
National Cheng Kung University,
1 University Road,
Tainan 70101, Taiwan
e-mail: golduser007@gmail.com

Hong-Sen Yan

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
National Cheng Kung University,
1 University Road,
Tainan 70101, Taiwan
e-mail: hsyan@mail.ncku.edu.tw

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received June 16, 2013; final manuscript received March 30, 2014; published online June 24, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Andrew P. Murray.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 6(3), 031016 (Jun 24, 2014) (12 pages) Paper No: JMR-13-1115; doi: 10.1115/1.4027701 History: Received June 16, 2013; Revised March 30, 2014

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient astronomical instrument with various functions to indicate the date of the Egyptian calendar, display the motions of celestial bodies, calculate astronomical periods, and predict eclipse events. However, the portions of the mechanism that have been excavated do not completely support its functions. In particular, the structures corresponding to the demonstration of solar and planetary motions have been lost. This paper presents a systematic reconstruction of design concepts for the lost structures with two degrees of freedom. According to the investigations of existing structure and other ancient astronomical instruments, design concepts with two degrees of freedom are generated, and three possible double-input conditions are identified. Based on a mechanism analysis, two types of reconstruction designs are developed: five-bar mechanisms with six joints and six-bar mechanisms with eight joints. Design constraints were determined in accordance with the historical literature and existing designs. Then, by applying the concepts of generalization and specialization, as well as the input conditions and manufacturing process, three, four, and seven feasible reconstruction designs are synthesized for the solar motion, inferior planetary motion, and superior planetary motion, respectively. In addition, relations for the teeth calculations are derived for detail designs.

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Fig. 1

Reconstruction design of interior structure by Freeth et al.

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Fig. 2

Mechanism for the motions of Venus and the Sun by Leonardo da Vinci

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Fig. 3

Suggested double-input conditions of the lost subsystems

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Fig. 4

Procedure for reconstruction synthesis [16-18,22,23]

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Fig. 5

Atlas of generalized kinematic chains with five links and six joints

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Fig. 6

Atlas of generalized kinematic chains with six links and eight joints

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Fig. 7

Process of specialization (type 1)

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Fig. 8

Process of specialization (type 2)

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Fig. 9

Feasible designs of type 1

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Fig. 10

Feasible designs of type 2




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