Matrix 1.0 is the first design of a multi-purpose unmanned walking platform utilizing the 6-bar mechanicalspider walking linkage. The proportions have been configured so that a step-height of 18” and a stride length of 24” is achieved. The crank length is set at 5.5” to match available bicycle cranks. The pivot points of each leg will be made of bicycle hubs (axel, bearings, raceway, and nuts) purchased in bulk.

The leg length will be approximately 37.5” with a ground clearance to the lowest ground pivot of 20”

The current linkage configuration has the ground points from both the upper and lower rocker vertically inline to facilitate a vertical axis for steering each leg pair which will be mounted on a double wishbone suspension similar to some wheeled vehicles.

The suspension arms will have 120 degrees or rotation, 30 degrees below horizontal to a vertical position which would allow each leg pair to be nested against the body to reduce it’s width and length for operating in tight confines or transport to target.

The upper and lower suspension arms will be parallel and a tilt sensor will be used as part of an active system to allow the Matrix 1.0 to lean into sharp turns and to keep the legs vertical when walking crossways on a sloped surface. The upper suspension arms will have a moveable pivot.

Each leg pair will have it’s own independent one-quarter horse variable speed, reversible DC motor fed through a high-current speed controller linked to a central microprocessor. The two motors on each side will be wired in series.

Mechanical compression spring struts are planned to connect the lower grounded rocker to the back and front of the connecting arm on the linkage. This spring assist will even the variation in velocity and mechanical advantage throughout the stride. The correct spring stiffness could have a huge impact on efficiency if the forces and masses involved can be determined to establish a system at resonance.

A self-righting capability is planned that would be triggered by the tilt sensor. The leg pairs would fold up and in, it would evaluate if the left or right side was up in it’s flattened state, fully extend the suspension arms on the up side, tilt fully to that direction and then extend the opposite sides suspension as it transferred tilt back to neutral. Several attempts could be made through the program loop with a failure to upright followed by rotating the bottom side legs to reposition for the next attempt.

There are a wide range of sensor modules that could be employed with common microprocessors; infrared, pressure, sonar, magnetic, and GPS are a few that have obvious applications.

The Matrix 1.0 Spider will be paintball gun equipped with video capability.

Design details will begin in the spring of 2009 and if you’ve read this far you probably deserve an apology…

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