Before
you can understand the workings of Maillardet's Automaton,
you will need to know a bit about movement. Everything around
you is moving. In fact, YOU are rotating with the Earth
this very minute! All movement is governed by certain mechanical
principles. Learning about these mechanical principles will
help you understand mechanical movement.

Sir
Isaac Newton was a great English scientist who was the first
to explain the laws of gravity. A legend says he made his
discovery as he saw an apple fall from a tree. Newton put
forth a variety of laws which explain why objects move (or
don't move) as they do. These three laws have become known
as Newton's Laws of Motion.

Newton's
First Law of Motion can be stated as:

**"An
object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion
tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same
direction unless some force interferes with its motion."**

Basically
this means that any moving object will continue in a straight
line and at the same speed unless some force
interferes with its motion.

As
an example, if you leave your socks on the floor when you
go to bed at night, they will still be in the same spot
in the morning unless an outside force moves them. This
also means that when you kick a soccer ball it will continue
moving until it hits something. However, in reality the
ball will slow to a stop even if it does not hit anything
because of the friction between the ball and the ground
drains its energy.

Newton's
Second Law can be stated as:

**"The
greater the force, the greater the acceleration." **

The
second law says it is easier to push the empty cardboard
box your

refrigerator came in than the refrigerator.

The
mathematical formula for Newton's Second Law says that force
is equal to mass times acceleration.

This
formula is useful because it tells the exact relationship
between the different quantities. For example, if you double
the amount of mass, it will take twice the force to give
it the same acceleration. If any of the two quantities in
the formula are known, the other can be figured out..

Mass
is often confused with weight. Mass is the resistance to
being accelerated and weight is the force of the earth's
gravity pulling on an object.

Acceleration
is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the
mass the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate
the object). In other words, a force acting on a moving
object will speed it up, slow it down, or change the direction
in which it is moving. A force can also cause an object
at rest to start moving.

Newton's
Third Law can be stated as:

**"For
every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."**

So,
if an object is pushed or pulled, it will push or pull equally
in the opposite direction. For example, a car has four wheels
which spin backwards. As the wheels spin backwards, they
push the road backwards. In turn, the road reacts by pushing
the wheels forward. The size of the force on the road equals
the size of the force on the car's wheels; the direction
of the force on the road (downwards) is opposite the direction
of the force on the wheels (upwards). For every action,
there is an equal and opposite reaction. Action-reaction
force pairs make it possible for your car to move.

This
section offers a very brief introduction to some of the
principles of mechanics. For an in-depth study of Newton's
Laws and motion it is suggested that you visit some of the
excellent educational sites listed in the "Internet
Links of Interest" section of this piece.