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Grid of tiny-linear-actuators

Discussion in 'Sensors and Actuators' started by Muhammad Umair Khan, Feb 20, 2018.

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  1. Muhammad Umair Khan

    Muhammad Umair Khan

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    Feb 20, 2018
    I am looking to build a personal-portable "dynamic shape display". It actually comprises of a grid of hundreds of linear actuators stacked together to make 3D shapes. My main issue is size constraint. It should not be any larger than a laptop. Ideal size would be equivalent to a palm.

    The number of actuators is at least 1000.

    I need ideas and suggestions on which actuation mechanism i should use.
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  2. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    Suggest you use a standard 'pin board' and fit an actuator under it that can move in the X, Y and Z axes. Position the actuator X-Y then apply Z to push the pin(s) accordingly - rinse and repeat.
     
  3. Muhammad Umair Khan

    Muhammad Umair Khan

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    Feb 20, 2018
    that would be a great idea in some cases, but for my application it would be way too slow. I actually need to render shapes in real time.
     
  4. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    Wow! A 'bazillion' linear actuators :eek:

    Hope your budget is being paid by someone else!

    Can you even get such actuators with a diameter small enough to allow 1000 to be fitted in the space of a laptop?
     
  5. Muhammad Umair Khan

    Muhammad Umair Khan

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    Feb 20, 2018
    ummm, thats the main issue. I found something called "squiggle motor". its really tiny, but its actually unavailable in the market and has (from what i was able to gather) a really complex control mechanism.
    I was hoping to find a smart diy method that i could use to make my own actuators. something very simple and compact. Maybe something like a magnetic sheet whose different points can be moved using tiny electromagnets...

    and btw, to my own great relief, someone else is paying for the hardware! :-D :-D
     
  6. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    Another idea.

    I've seen linear actuator assemblies (tiny stepper motor driving a helical shaft) that you commonly find in CDROM drives (head movement) that can be found for 'pennies' via the usual Chinese supplier route.

    If you assembled a load of them in a grid array and attached plastic fibres (like optic fibre) to each mechanism, fed the loose ends through a matrix of plastic straws and, with the motors all set to their zero position, chopped the ends off level with the straw surface, you would get the required X-Y matrix in an acceptable size (although the mechanism part of it would be somewhat larger but 'below' the visible pin-matrix display).
     
    hevans1944 and Ian like this.
  7. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    What do you hope to do with this? 32x32 is not much resolution.

    Bob
     
  8. Muhammad Umair Khan

    Muhammad Umair Khan

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    Feb 20, 2018
    well 32x32 isnt a good enough resolution. Actually I want to shift depth image from kinect sensor onto the shape display. in a smaller resolution, the picture becomes unrecognizable.
     
  9. Muhammad Umair Khan

    Muhammad Umair Khan

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    Feb 20, 2018
    I'll look
    Thanks, I'll look into it and see if it fits my space requirements. Will get back to you when i get the calculations done!
     
  10. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    If the pins pushed against a flexible membrane and were spaced according to the flexibility then you'd get a pretty decent rendition.
     
  11. Muhammad Umair Khan

    Muhammad Umair Khan

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    Feb 20, 2018
    hey Bob! looks like you have some ideas for a 32x32 system. I you do, let me know, I can try that out.
     
  12. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    No, I was just commenting on the size of an array that would have 1000 (actually 1024) actuators.

    If this is just intended to display a surface, I wpuld do it with computer graphics, possibly coupled with a 3D viewer.

    Bob
     
    hevans1944 likes this.
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