Robotics

Cable-suspended simulator can fly freely around a room

Cable-suspended simulator can ...
The cabin is suspended by eight cables that are each tensioned at up to 1.4 tons (1.3 tonnes) and are attached to winches
The cabin is suspended by eight cables that are each tensioned at up to 1.4 tons (1.3 tonnes) and are attached to winches
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The cabin is suspended by eight cables that are each tensioned at up to 1.4 tons (1.3 tonnes) and are attached to winches
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The cabin is suspended by eight cables that are each tensioned at up to 1.4 tons (1.3 tonnes) and are attached to winches
The winches control the direction and speed of the cabin as they coil and uncoil and can be programmed to move it freely through six axes
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The winches control the direction and speed of the cabin as they coil and uncoil and can be programmed to move it freely through six axes

A new type of motion simulator has been developed that comprises a cabin suspended and maneuvered by robotically-controlled steel cables. It is able to be installed in rooms of varying sizes, and can be moved greater distances and at greater speeds than conventional simulators.

The simulator has been developed over a two-year period by applied research organization Fraunhofer IPA in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (MPI). It is based upon cable-driven technology that can be used for moving around large objects in large spaces (such as factories and warehouses) that conventional robots cannot, or even for turning telescopes.

In this instance, the payload is the cabin in which the user sits. The cabin has been made from strong carbon fiber tubes and is designed to withstand the high forces acting upon it as it is pulled to and fro by the cables. A diameter of 260 cm (102 in) allows for enough space inside to install projection surfaces or cockpit instrumentation, although the version used for testing remains unenclosed with only a frame, and is instead used with a wireless virtual reality headset.

The cabin is suspended by eight cables that are each tensioned at up to 1.4 tons (1.3 tonnes) and are attached to winches. The winches control the direction and speed of the cabin as they coil and uncoil, and can be programmed to move it freely throughout the space.

The winches control the direction and speed of the cabin as they coil and uncoil and can be programmed to move it freely through six axes
The winches control the direction and speed of the cabin as they coil and uncoil and can be programmed to move it freely through six axes

The low 80 kg (176 lb) weight of the cabin frame, the 5 x 8 x 5 m (16 x 26 x 16 ft) space in which the cabin can be flown and a total winch drive power of 348 kW (467 hp) allow for acceleration of up to 420 m/s/s (meters per second squared), which is far greater than is possible with conventional, actuator-mounted simulators. As a result, movement sensations can be simulated that are also not possible in conventional simulators, with forces acting upon the cabin of up to 1.5 g.

Fraunhofer suggests that the technology could be used as might be expected for driving or flight simulation, but also to explore perception processes in humans in ways that have not been possible before.

The video below shows the simulator in action.

Source: Fraunhofer IPA

MPI CableRobot Simulator

5 comments
VincentWolf
That would make a really cool amusement park ride!
MQ
Who here understands what 6 Axes means? (ie. up and down are the same axis).
This wold be great fun. but it does have more limited rotation (less than 90 degrees roll pitch and yaw) than a 6+DOF (that's 6 axes) robo-arm based sim.
guzmanchinky
That is SO COOL!
ljaques
Those would make flight simulators much more realistic. I'll bet that Fraunhofer gives these away reeeeeal cheap, too. Any guesses as to how many hundreds of thousands they'll want? @MD: add tilt to each of the other axes to total 6. (This ain't yer grandma's aeronautics. ;) They'll have to install a rotational motor or two within the moved platform to allow for more than the 90 degree limits. That would allow for loops, spins, and spirals.
ChgoSTrider
Only a matter of time before some financially well-off gamer has one installed in his game room.
Installation does not look that difficult. Four posts with 8 winches. A computer controller and some pretty good current supply. Much cheaper than the 6 axis robo-arm.