A machine is a physical system using power to apply forces and control movement to perform an action. The term is commonly applied to artificial devices, such as those employing engines or motors, but also to natural biological macromolecules, such as molecular machines. Machines can be driven by animals and people, by natural forces such as wind and water, and by chemical, thermal, or electrical power, and include a system of mechanisms that shape the actuator input to achieve a specific application of output forces and movement. They can also include computers and sensors that monitor performance and plan movement, often called mechanical systems.
Renaissance natural philosophers identified six simple machines which were the elementary devices that put a load into motion, and calculated the ratio of output force to input force, known today as mechanical advantage.Modern machines are complex systems that consist of structural elements, mechanisms and control components and include interfaces for convenient use. Examples include: a wide range of vehicles, such as trains, automobiles, boats and airplanes; appliances in the home and office, including computers, building air handling and water handling systems; as well as farm machinery, machine tools and factory automation systems and robots.