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Research Papers

Reconstruction Synthesis of the Calendrical Subsystem of Antikythera Mechanism

[+] Author and Article Information
Hong-Sen Yan1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, 1 University Road, Tainan 70101, Taiwanhsyan@mail.ncku.edu.tw

Jian-Liang Lin

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, 1 University Road, Tainan 70101, Taiwann1896132@mail.ncku.edu.tw

1

Corresponding author.

J. Mech. Des 133(2), 021004 (Jan 24, 2011) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003185 History: Received May 18, 2010; Revised November 04, 2010; Published January 24, 2011; Online January 24, 2011

The damaged excavation of the Antikythera mechanism presents the oldest astronomical analog computer in ancient Greece. Its interior mechanism is a complicated gear train with many subsystems in which some are unclear, such as the calendrical subsystem. This work focuses on the reconstruction synthesis of the calendrical subsystem and provides a systematic approach to generate all feasible designs. Based on the studies of historical literatures and existing designs, the required design constraints are concluded. Then, according to the concepts of generalization and specialization of mechanisms, two feasible designs and 14 results of teeth counting, including the existing one by Freeth (2002, “The Antikythera Mechanism: 1. Challenging the Classic Research,” Mediterranean Archaeology & Archaeometry, 2, pp. 21–35; 2002, “The Antikythera Mechanism: 2. Is It Posidonius Orrery?,” Mediterranean Archaeology & Archaeometry, 2, pp. 45–58; 2006, “Decoding the Ancient Greek Astronomical Calculator Known as the Antikythera Mechanism,” Nature (London), 444, pp. 587–591; 2008, “Calendars With Olympiad Display and Eclipse Prediction on the Antikythera Mechanism,” Nature (London), 454, pp. 614–617; 2009, “Decoding an Ancient Computer,” Sci. Am., 301(6), pp. 76–83), which are in consistent with the science theories and techniques of the subject’s time period, are synthesized.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Chain , Design , Gears
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Reconstruction design by de Solla Price

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Figure 2

Reconstruction design of the Venus display by Edmunds and Morgan

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Figure 3

Reconstruction design by Wright

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Figure 4

Reconstruction design by Freeth

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Figure 5

Surviving fragments of the Antikythera mechanism (15-18)

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Figure 6

Islamic sun dial (20)

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Figure 7

A reconstruction model of the Antikythera mechanism (19)

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Figure 8

Mechanism of the calendrical subsystem by Freeth

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Figure 9

Procedure of reconstruction synthesis

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Figure 10

Qualified generalized kinematic chains with six links and nine joints for specialization

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Figure 11

Specialized chains with identified ground link

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Figure 12

Specialized chains with identified ground link and Callippic period link

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Figure 13

Specialized chains with identified ground link, Callippic period link, and Olympiad period link

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Figure 14

Specialized chains with identified ground link, Callippic period link, Olympiad period link, and input link

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Figure 15

Specialized chains with identified ground link, Callippic period link, Olympiad period link, input link, and Meton period link

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Figure 16

Atlas of feasible specialized chains

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Figure 17

Atlas of reconstruction designs

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