One good thing that came my from exploration of counter rotation gyroscopes is an idea for haptics for the Feel Three platform. Now I know the motion simulator is one big ball of haptics but this adds a little more subtlety and range to the platform.

I’m not making a model just yet but here’s the general idea :

Two counter rotating gyroscopes don’t act like a gyroscope when put together so they can move as normal being unencumbered by gyroscopic forces. The spinning wheels also store a huge amount of energy. Normally we feed this into the gyroscope using a fast motor but there is another way we can get the energy out. Motors that have their polarity reversed or ground will now be driven by whatever they were driving, just as an engine will brake a car when going down a hill if you take your foot off the gas.

So imagine two sets of gyroscopes, that’s four in all, each with a motor. On the left side of the inside of the sphere we have two and the right has the other two. They’re aligned along the center of the horizontal axis and orientated so they spinning the same as your wheels would in a car. Now, when you start a racing sim they all begin to rotate, two clockwise and two anticlockwise, one on either side.

Now, the normal idea for racing sims is to rotate you backwards to generate acceleration, but the sphere has a disadvantage over sims with linear motors in that it can’t react quite as quickly to fast changes in rotation. So when you change gear the ‘jerk’ you would feel from the deceleration as the clutch disengages and re-engages would be too quick to be felt. This is where the gyroscopes come in. When you change gear up the motors that are essentially driving in reverse are engine braked followed by the forward turning gyros braking as well. These are only for a fraction of a second, but the momentum of these gyroscopes are passed to the motors and then the frame creating a rapid deceleration and acceleration to the whole platform. There are motors on both sides to maintain balance. You could put one set in the center but the user is in the way…

The gyroscopes would have to be reasonable substantial to impart a good amount of energy back into the platform but not so massive that they slow the platform down, perhaps a couple of kg on either side. Of course, there is also the possibility that these gyros could be placed on all three axis and actually drive the rotation of the whole platform. The motors and gyros would need to be much larger to turn the whole platform but the base unit would lose the omni chain and be substantially simpler.

Perhaps for the Feel Three v2? 🙂