For a while I’m thinking about this hardware project idea and now I’m opening here to get some opinions. After that maybe I’ll submit it for the Sun SPOT Open Grant Program.
What is Walker Sphere? Walker Sphere is a project to made an robot capable with a diferent aproach, without heels, mats, propellers or wings. The main idea is to move only changing its center of gravity.
How change its center of gravity?
It’s a sphere
with some compartments
and a Sun Spot.
One compartment is filled with a liquid. The liquid is pumped to another compartment and so the compartment got heavier and the sphere moves towards its direction.
Why a sphere? We can distribute the mass uniformly in a sphere and it’s shapes make it easier to roll. A sphere can encapsulates all components and protect them from the outside world and at the same time all sensors can work, especially using some transparent material for the bark.
Why Sun Spot? The Sun Spot have some advantages that fits perfectly in this project:
- A broad set of sensors including accelerometers that made possible to know the current state of the sphere.
- Radio communication that can make possible two or more spheres collaborate to achieve a common task.
- Programmable using Java.
- Open and Free Source JVM, Squawk.
It will be free? Yes. I’d like to know more about open and free licenses for hardware projects.
How to pump the liquid into the compartments? I don’t know. Have you some good idea?
Some random ideas:
- A pressure device.
- Something like an injection.
- An Archimedes’ screw.
- Not using a liquid, use something else.
I’m open for ideas, critics and suggestions. ;)
You could probedly pump the liquid with some sort of vacuum system…
Or, instead of water, have some kind of gas that tries to raise. That way you only need to open a valve,the gas will automatically fill the chamber
The lighter-than-air gas would already be in the highest compartment – opening the valves isn’t going to make it go anywhere. That has the same problems as heavier-than-air fluids.
If you used some sort of magnetic arrangement … a suspension?
I’m not thinking that you have mechanical parts, a magnet on rails or anything. You could use electrical fields to move the magnetic stuff. Although this will pose an issue with the electronics… I’m not the one ever planning to build one of these.