2. Concepts of UTILITY FOG
3.1 Self Reconfiguring Robots
3.2 Homogenous Self Reconfiguring Robots
3.3 Crystalline module concept
3.5 Motion and Control
The Idea of Utility fog was originally put forward by Edison in 1890. These tiny robots are theorized by Dr. John Storrs Hall with 12 extending arms that would link up with neighboring foglets (units of utility fog) to share information and energy forming a continuous network. The idea of Utility fog was proposed to make artificial “seat belts” which protect a driver from accidents. Utility fog is sometimes thought of as a nano technological version of the Swiss Army Knife. This micro scale device represents the forefront of molecular nanotechnology. Once they are made they have these powers embedded in the simple fog – Creation--causing objects to appear and disappear on command. Levitation--causing objects to hover and fly around.
Manipulation--causing forces (squeezing, hitting, pulling) objects (real ones) at a distance. Teleportation--nearly any combination of telepresence and virtual reality between fog-filled locations The only major breakthrough necessary to enable us to build the Fog world is nanotechnology itself. Assemblers, the sine qua non of nanotechnology, will require two major feats of molecular engineering: building molecular-sized, individually controllable, physical actuators, arms, motors, gears, sprockets, pulleys, and the like; and then building molecular sized computers to control them.
CONCEPTS OF UTILITY FOG
Each Foglet has twelve arms, arranged as the faces of a dodecahedron. The central body of the foglet is roughly spherical, 10 microns in diameter. The arms are 5 microns in diameter and 50 microns long. A convex hull of the foglet approximates a 100-micron sphere. Each Foglet will weigh about 20 micrograms and contain about 5 quadrillion atoms. Its mechanical motions will have a precision of about a micron. The arms telescope rather than having joints. The arms swivel on a universal joint at the base, and the gripper at the end can rotate about the arm's axis. The gripper is a hexagonal structure with three fingers, mounted on alternating faces of the hexagon. Two Foglets "grasp hands" in an interleaved six-finger grip. Since the fingers are designed to match the end of the other arm, this provides a relatively rigid connection; forces are only transmitted axially through the grip. When at rest, foglets form a lattice whose structure is that of a face-centered cubic crystal (i.e. an octet truss). A 6-arm design would need 3 big motors per arm, for a total of 18. The octet structure needs only one big motor per arm, for a total of 12. The arm-waving motors need only have enough power to position the arm itself, not to exert macroscopic forces throughout the structure. The other reason for so many arms is that you need some extra to allow robots to let go briefly to change neighbors, and still retain strength and connectivity in the structure. The grippers at the end of each arm have one degree of freedom, rotation, driven by a weak motor. The gripper has three fingers that when closed form an extension of the arm; when open they spread apart at a slight angle. The grippers are solely for gripping the end of another arm, in a straight line. They are designed so that two arms approaching each other can be slightly off line and angle, and the coupling process is compliant. Once they are coupled, however, the resulting joint is straight and rigid. Coupling also makes power and communications connections between the two Foglets.
The fog lets will communicate with outside world to receive the signals. These signals...
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