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Turing's Mill

June '18 - August '18

What if a mill could think?


Inspired by philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, Turing's Mill is a project that combines engineering, philosophy, and history to produce artifacts recovered from an ancient, now-defunct mill that could once think.

Lantern Gear Design

A mill is highly dependent on transmissions for functionality. Because the lantern gear intersecting horizontal and vertical rotations is particularly important for movement, I designed a similar artifact characteristic of a thinking mill.

My design boasts 9 wall members, in the place of gear teeth. The height of each wall corresponds to a Fibonacci Sequence unit on a logarithmic scale. This enables the lantern gear to serve a unique functionality: as its height is modified by a winch, so is the number of teeth engaged. The gear also displays a sheet metal cuff on its connection to the shaft, as a nod to the traditional role a lantern gear plays in a mill.

Pawl & Ratchet Winch


The pawl-and-ratchet winch is designed to raise and lower the lantern gear, thereby modifying the number of teeth engaged. The winch has a total of 9 settings, which allow between 1 and 9 teeth to be engaged at once. A lever with a mechanical button subsystem allows a user to change settings with ease. Pressing the button engages the mechanism, and lock the mechanism when let go. The winch's antiquated design approach captures an era before the invention of modern tools and resources (e.g. spring pins and electricity). Similarly, the accompanying detail document captures a time period before the standardization of drawing sheets.