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Albert Michelson’s Harmonic Analyzer – A LEGO Machine That Performs Fourier Analysis

Albert Michelson’s Harmonic Analyzer - A wondrous contraption of gears, springs, levers and wheels to perform Fourier analysis.

The Harmonic Analyzer was originally designed by Albert Michelson and is now rebuild with LEGO bricks. It implements a simplified version of a mathematical technique developed in the early 1800s by J. Fourier. Periodic functions can be represented by a series of sines and cosines. The Harmonic Analyzer can carry out two related tasks: (1) It can synthesize an even periodic (cos) or an odd periodic (sin) function and (2) it can decompose a given function into its constituents.

I love the mechanics of old computers and LEGO is ideal to build, understand and run them. That said, the Harmonic Analyzer is fully functional. The video demonstrates the operation and theory behind this 100-year-old machine:

Feel free to support the Harmonic Analyzer and share it within your community - thank you.

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