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Better lion machine interface

A project log for Ultimate running aid

Eliminate everything from running but the running part.

lion mclionheadlion mclionhead 10/05/2020 at 17:520 Comments

Lions long dreamed of fully proportional steering & throttle.  You can't buy the ergonomic knobs & sticks in game controllers as standalone parts. The mechanicals have to be custom designed. The only standardized parts are hall effect sensors & potentiometers buried inside the controls, which are not ergonomical.  Spring loaded sticks in commercial controllers fell apart when subjected to hours of running.

3D printing finally allowed some progress.

The journey began with a spring loaded wheel module for steering. The lion kingdom developed a mechanism with a common pen spring, hall effect sensor, & PLA. It's quite bulky compared to the boosted board, which uses an expanding spring.  A fully waterproof remote control would have to be even bigger still.

This module revealed it's not possible to jockey a steering wheel & throttle in the boosted board arrangement with 1 paw. Boosted boards use the throttle position as a safety rather than a throttle. They always have the safety down when jockeying the wheel.

A few more prototypes yielded a modernization of the remote control lions have used for 8 years.  The steering wheel goes straight through, making it ambidextrous.


To lower the bar, this one would only be used for camera panning.  A later remote control for the vehicles would have 2 spring loaded wheels for throttle & steering, along with 2 speed buttons & a power button.  Reverse would be built into the throttle wheel.

Making it functional only needed 6 hours for final assembly. It was the lion kingdom's 1st experience with .4mm pin spacing on a home made board. A microscope is definitely required.

Lions are fans of inductive charging, since connectors do so badly in salt water.  The only exposed contact is the power switch.  

TODO: need a way to temporarily capture the spring for assembly. Electronicals don't fit. Need to make a thicker enclosure. Need guides for the wires. More room on top for wiring & on the bottom for the antenna. Maybe move the power switch down. This prototype is good enough for end to end testing of a gearbox.


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