I've seen a lot of mechanical computers based on gears and rigid rods, but none so far that consequently use belts (not chains) for transmission of information.

Belts allow for easy negation (by crossed belts), simple logic gates (using different contact pressures of the belt on the green wheel or shaft), and even one step multiplication (by tunable radii of shafts). Putting all this together could give a decent mechanical computer, at least for feed-forward calculations without recursion.

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I wonder where I can find a thorough description of a (maybe hypothetical) mechanical computer based mainly on wheels, shafts, and belts (and maybe some gears and rods).

  • $\begingroup$ I wonder why you limit to "feed-forward calculations without recursion". A NAND gate is enough to build a full-fledged computer. $\endgroup$
    – user16034
    Jul 26, 2022 at 16:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is the most famous: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Difference_engine $\endgroup$
    – user16034
    Jul 26, 2022 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ @YvesDaoust But does it use (continuous) belts? I see only (discrete) gears. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2022 at 5:19
  • $\begingroup$ I am no specialist but I guess that belts are just out of question. $\endgroup$
    – user16034
    Jul 27, 2022 at 6:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Just intuition. $\endgroup$
    – user16034
    Jul 27, 2022 at 12:05


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