Benefits of quick release panels

I had a long conversation yesterday about the project and we also discussed the concept of having quick release panels. The original plan was to have connectors that bolt the panels together, this is strong but a reasonably ‘permanent’ solution. It also means that everyone has to spend a couple of hours building their sphere, time most people would prefer to spend sitting inside it. We also recognised that some people don’t have the space to permanently keep a large device like the Feel Three, so we intended to develop an add on method to quickly create/dismantle the sphere. This would probably be more expensive but it could remove a major barrier to many people buying our Sim.

After a few hours tweaking my original ‘zipper’ design I’m beginning to think that perhaps this shouldn’t be an optional extra after all. I can imagine plenty of reviews telling people that they need to spend ages building the sphere, which isn’t perhaps the best impression to give people right away. Adding quick release tabs to each edge at the factory means everyone could be up and running in half an hour or so. The mirrored design means only one part needs to be created and tooled, and the metal retaining pins should be fairly cheap to mass produce.

quick release6

A notch in the side gives the pins something to grip so they can’t fall out.

I think I’ll do a orbit render too, my youtube channel is a little quiet šŸ™‚

A quick note about the strength of the sphere.

The edge of the sphere will be reinforced with two overlapping pieces of aluminium extrusion, but will the rest of the sphere be strong enough? Well the sphere will be primarily supported by 8 castor wheels and the omni chains will also spread some of the weight onto the arms of the base. Each internal edge will be connected by at least four nuts and bolts with locking washers on each. The internal chair mount will be connected to several panels to spread the weight of the user across the sphere.

Each design will also be over weighted and tested to destruction. Expect interesting videos! šŸ™‚

Spheres are inherently a strong structure under compression, the record holder dropped an unprotected egg 213 meters without it smashing. And although it’s not quite the same structure, check out this picture of the strength of a geodesic dome. See how the triangles form pentagons, hexagons and half hexagons? Just like the Feel Three.


Update #3 – We passed the first HAXLR8R selection test!


Feel Three is still in the running for HAXLR8R…

Our pitch went well but the competition is fierce

Two of the founders spent an hour yesterday morning pitching to one of the HAXLR8R partners via Skype. It went well, but they have a hard job picking just 15 entries from nearly 400 applicants. At lot of the initial batch have already been rejected, so we cleared the first hurdle. We also asked you guys for your support on Twitter in the last update last week, and quite a few of you stepped up magnificently, but we’ve found out a lot of our mails ended up in spam boxes due to the unsubscribe link being broken. So we’ve moved over to MailChimp in the hope that Gmail, Hotmail and the rest won’t be so harsh. We’re now legal in every country and the unsubscribe button works perfectly.

So we’re asking again for your support, let the guys at HAXLR8R know that the FeelThree is on your shopping list for Kickstarter next year and we’ll show them that we have not only an amazing project but the backers to make their investment worthwhile. Once again, we’ll put your name into the raffle hat 50 more times if you help out before the end of November. Retweets also count so your followers also get to play!

So please spend 5 seconds letting twitter know about the project and pushing HAXLR8R to keep us in mind while they’re still interviewing and picking projects for the second round. This really makes a difference guys!

Link : #RT if you want to see the amazing #FeelThree VR motion sim get a second interview @HAXLR8R and get made in China ’15

Remember that if we get in we’ll be blogging all about the experience, our progress and answering any questions, so this is a great resource if you’re thinking of applying to the program yourself in the future.

So if HAXLR8R doesn’t pick us is that the end of the project? Of course not, it would be a really great shortcut to the kickstarter and production but we’ve got plenty of other options to explore that we’re not able to share… yet.

We’re at 1800 followers on Twitter, email sign ups are still pouring in and the website get more traffic everyday. Something tells us that this is something you guys want.

As you’ve probably noticed we redesigned the base. It looks big but it’s actually the same width as the sphere, so it doesn’t take up any more space. It not only looks far cooler but means the part count is reduced since the four sides are essentially the same. It will probably be split too so it’s smaller to ship.

Thanks for your support guys and please spread the word!

Mark & the Team


Edit: Here’s a 30 second video of the feelThree in action

Add a couple of sharing buttons…

I made it easy to spread the word but getting the code to work inside the theme was a really pain. I eventually cracked it by making a simple page and embedding it into an iframe, crude but it works…
I’ve also given everyone an incentive to click it by giving you 20 more entries to win a Feel Three if you click it…

Vision Goal : Gear change haptics

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? šŸ™‚

Heave solution Number Two…

Was kind of lost when my computer crashed.Ā  šŸ™

Again its going to enter into the realm of ‘that can’t work’ and ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ for most people. Again, have a little patience. I’m concerned with possible stresses on the columns, but I think this is very doable. Just because it’s never been done doesn’t make something impossible.

I blame mssrs Stewart and Gough, they invent the ‘perfect’ system 70 years ago and everyone gives up trying. The space sim fans are a tough crowd too, the Feel Three was mentioned on /r/elitedangerous but quickly dismissed because it couldn’t properly simulate the forces of a zero-g spaceship. When asked which motion simulator could simulate it the answer was ‘none of them can’. You would think the Elite fans would be easier to please. I’m guessing 99.9% of formula one sim racers have never driven a F1 car and 98% of 747 sim pilots have never flown a 747 but unless Buzz Aldrin is a gamer 100% of space simers haven’t been in space :p