Freedom in Machinery by Phillips, Jack
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS | 05 March 2007
Paperback | 448 pages
Does a machine run well by virtue of its accuracies, or its freedoms? This work presents an exciting, diagrammatic display of the hidden geometry of freedom and constraint. It bolsters the imaginative design of robots, but applies across all fields of machinery. The figures and their captions comprise alone a self-standing story, and this connects effectively with the rigorously argued text. The seamless combination of the two volumes (1984, 1990) renders the internal cross-referencing (forward and backward within the volumes) easier to look up. The appearance of this paperback is a clear testament to the work's ongoing readership. The term screw theory occurs throughout. This relates (after Ball) to the book's philosophy; and one might equally mention kinetostatics (after Federhofer). An all-pervading, counter-intuitive fact accordingly presents itself: while, analogously, angular velocity relates to force, linear velocity relates to couple. A direct consequence of Freedom in Machinery is a more recent book by the same author. Specifically titled General Spatial Involute Gearing and published in Germany (2003), it exemplifies the many ways in which Freedom in Machinery clarifies the enigmatic field of spatial mechanism. That field continuously expands with the current, continuous thrust of ordinary engineering practice.