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TLDR: Machines are things that use power to do stuff. They can be artificial devices like engines or motors, or natural things like biological molecules. Machines can be powered by animals, people, wind, water, or different types of energy. They can also include computers and sensors. Machines have been around for a long time and have evolved to become more complex. They are used in vehicles, appliances, factories, and robots.

Machines are physical systems that use power to apply forces and control movement in order to perform an action. They can be artificial devices, like engines or motors, or natural biological molecules, like molecular machines. Machines can be powered by animals, people, wind, water, or different types of energy, like chemical, thermal, or electrical power. They include a system of mechanisms that shape the input to achieve a specific output. Machines can also include computers and sensors that monitor performance and plan movement, which are called mechanical systems.

In the past, natural philosophers identified six simple machines that were the basic devices that put a load into motion. These machines include the lever, pulley, wheel, wedge, and screw. They calculated the ratio of output force to input force, known as mechanical advantage. Modern machines are more complex and consist of structural elements, mechanisms, and control components. They include a wide range of vehicles, appliances, farm machinery, machine tools, factory automation systems, and robots.

The word "machine" comes from the Latin word "machina," which means contrivance or engine. Machines have been used throughout history for various purposes. In the Renaissance period, machines were used in theater and military siege engines. The formal meaning of the word "machine" as we know it today was defined in the 18th century by John Harris in his book "Lexicon Technicum." He described machines as devices that have the force to raise or stop the motion of a body. He also identified six simple machines, like the balance, lever, pulley, wheel, wedge, and screw.

The history of machines dates back to ancient times. The hand axe, made by chipping flint to form a wedge, was one of the first examples of a machine. Other simple machines, like the wheel, lever, and pulley, were invented in the ancient Near East. Greek philosopher Archimedes studied and described the lever, pulley, and screw in the 3rd century BC. Later, Greek philosophers defined the classic five simple machines and calculated their mechanical advantage.

During the Renaissance, the dynamics of simple machines were studied from the standpoint of how much useful work they could perform. Italian scientist Galileo Galilei worked out the complete dynamic theory of simple machines and understood that they do not create energy, but rather transform it. Leonardo da Vinci discovered the rules of sliding friction in machines, which were later developed by Guillaume Amontons and Charles-Augustin de Coulomb.

The Industrial Revolution marked a period of significant changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology. Machines played a crucial role in this revolution, with the mechanization of textile industries and the development of iron-making techniques. The use of machines spread throughout Western Europe, North America, Japan, and the rest of the world.

Machines can be classified into different types, such as simple machines, mechanisms, and mechanical systems. Simple machines include the wedge, lever, wheel, pulley, inclined plane, and screw. Mechanisms are assemblies of links connected by joints, like gears, cam and follower mechanisms, and linkages. Mechanical systems consist of power sources, actuators, mechanisms, controllers, and interfaces.

Gears and gear trains are used to transmit rotation between toothed wheels. Cam and follower mechanisms involve the direct contact of specially shaped links to control movement. Linkages are collections of links connected by joints and can generate straight-line or walking movements. There are also planar, spherical, and spatial mechanisms that operate in different planes or spaces. Flexure mechanisms consist of rigid bodies connected by compliant elements to produce a specific motion.

Machine elements are the basic components of a machine. They include structural elements, like frames and bearings, as well as mechanisms, like gears and linkages. Machine elements provide structure for the system and control its movement. They are essential for the functioning of machines.

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