[extropy-chat] Exoskeleton power

Dan Clemmensen dgc at cox.net
Wed Apr 13 22:27:56 UTC 2005

Adrian Tymes wrote:

>--- Dan Clemmensen <dgc at cox.net> wrote:
>>I envision a scheme in which the plates are on a 1-cm grid, so in 
>>general the sole of a foot will cover several plates. the sole in
>>is covered with plates on approximately the same grid. It should be 
>>possible to pick a pair of floor plates and a pair of shoe plates
>>that when activated (and with the rest of the plates deactivated) you
>>have two electrically isolated current paths from the floor to the
>Of course, you'd want to not have plates where you'll have cargo.  And
>walking around normally would be dangerous, unless the plates only ever
>activate when an exo's foot is nearby (say, as signalled by a RFID
>tag), else walking around in normal clothes or, for exos or normal
>vehicles, falling over would be quite dangerous.
>The bigger problem is that that makes the exo, and all the money a
>business put into the exo, usable only in that specialized building.
>A forklift can be used in other, prebuilt warehouses.  You'd need to
>convince businesses it wouldn't cost much to move this investment to
>another warehouse, and that the investment of floor plus exo (in
>practice, anyone using this system would have to purchase both) would
>not exceed the benefits to be reaped, before you could get buyers.
This was technical, not commercial. The economics depend critically on
the cost of the grid. I note that many large factories have specialized 
of different types.

The grid would cover the whole floor and would be suitable for use
as a plain old floor. Grid squares are only powered when in contact with
an appropriate intelligent user such as the shoe of the exoskeleton, the 
of a suitably-equipped forklift, or the legs of a portable machine.
No RFID is needed: the signaling is done by direct contact using low
current. A grid square only  provides high current when the signaling
is complete. grid squares will detect each other's signals if there is
a conductive path such as a metal tool lying on the floor, and will not
provide high current. Note that the individual signaling can be slow
by electronic standards, in the hundreds of microseconds. The real economic
problem to solve to manufacture the flooring in bulk, cheaply. With
a 1-cm grid, we need 10,000/sq meter. even at a penny per grid point, this
is $100/sq meter.

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