Motor-multiplexer is a no go, in future versions that won't be a problem

A project log for Low Resolution Programmable Matter

Cube shaped objects that will attach to each other and move each other which will result in a low resolution programmable matter (LRPM).

harry-svenssonHarry Svensson 04/07/2017 at 13:170 Comments

The reason for why I was thinking about using a motor-multiplexer was because I wanted to save:

I gained nothing from going from 12 motors to 4 motors with 2x motor-multiplexer. So I'll for now use (6 sides) x (2 handles per side) + (2-dimensional movement between 2 cubes => 1-dimensional movement per side) = 6x2+6 = 18 motors. It does not sound that good, but it beats the idéa I had a couple of month's ago when I thought I'd use 36 motors. And for now 18 motors will have to do, to show a proof-of-concept.

Once I win the hackaday-prize I'll be able to release a version two that has small piezomotors instead, because they weigh much less, and has less volume than a normal DC-motor. Sadly they are very expensive. But I'm planning to do what happened to solar-panels, make something expensive, less expensive. Right now the supply and demand of piezomotors are mainly for medical equipment, and you know what medical equipment usually cost.

So for version 1, I'll use DC-motors, in version 2 I'll use piezomotors, the reason for why I don't use piezomotors right now is because I'm a student and I'm not made of money. Hopefully in version 3 I'll use electrostatic forces, the reason for why I'm not doing that now is because I don't have time to research about it, if its feasible or not.

Proof of concept comes first, optimizing and improving comes second hand.

Here's a couple of animations showing that I successfully managed to make a motor-multiplexer and how it would maybe work in practice.

And here comes another animation of the same thing but from another angle:

And here comes the third and last animation for the motor-multiplexer showing the reason for why it's not feasible.

I know it's in the wrong corner, but it doesn't matter, the amount of cogs and metal rods would still have been absurd. The motor in the lower left corner is supposed to be able to do the movement it applies on the top female handles, to all the white handles. It's... yeah, just placing a motor at every place needed saves space, design-time and money. Oh well, at least I saw it through.

In the last project log I showed the handles in still images, well here's a video showing how they would hold on to each other in a video, in a more practical way.

Next on my agenda:
Moving some ideas I have to Blender that will actually move the cubes around and how the electrical signals and power will interconnect the cubes. I have a couple of good ideas, and we'll see them soon next week probably. I've said it a couple of times now, that I'm going to 3D-print some stuff, trust me. I will once I cement the designs.