Dancer - Shimmering Gaits of a Six-Legged Engineered Organism

Dancer is a proposed research program directed to the realization of an "engineered organism" that will "ambulate" or walk through a terrain with six legs, including ambulation over or around obstacles or other hazards. The design of Dancer is the goal of a proposed program of development that begins with very simple designs based on the balancing unit from "an Ear for Pythagorean harmonics," link and that then passes through a series of stages, each stage leading to more complexity and more capacity and more control.

See: Shimmering Silences in Beautiful Music.

Timing Device Constructions (one-dimensional and two-dimensional systems)

Stage 0.  Spatial and Temporal Differentiation
Prior to the applied designs of later stages, this stage develops an abstract kind of operational device design. Operations occur as processing in the nature of mathematical differentiation. Spatial differentiation is based on a spatial array of balancing units with shared sensors, with arrays in forms of strings, nets or lattices (1, 2 or 3 dimensions). Lattice patterns resemble those studied in metallurgical crystallography and through models of metal alloys. Temporal differentiation is based on a time delay "Δt" between input signals to the balancing unit, generating a signal that resembles [f(t) – f(t – Δt)]. Differentiation principles apply to both pulse trains and pulse bundles; pulse bundles come with variations, allowing for selection among variations. "Dwelling" is established as silence in output lines of balancing units, as illustrated in musical examples in "Shimmering Silences."

Stage 1.  Utricle
Differentiation techniques (Stage 0, above) are applied to generate signals in the nature of gravity sensation. The sensor element is a proposed "sensitive hair" timing device, in which modulation (lengthening or shortening of response period of the timing device) is proportional to angular displacement of the hair, where such displacement is caused by a mechanical weight or pressure acting against a linear restoring force. One goal, towards which later stages of the research program are directed, is to coordinate sensory signals from the Utricle with muscular activity. The design principle is that signals based on spatial displacements (two ears) and temporal displacements (time delays) can be employed to achieve both "static balance" (longterm stability) and also "dynamic balance" (operational stability during a phase of a performance in which static balance cannot be maintained). "Dwelling" occurs when "Utricle is upright."

Stage 2.  Peristalsis
Muscular bands encircle a tube that is made from an elastically compressible material. Stretch sensors and muscle stimulators are embedded in the muscular bands. The activity is to push a "bolus" of material through the tube. Muscle "tonus" is "dwelling" and changes from tonus are detected through stretch sensors. An impulse of movement of the bolus is the result of a pulse bundle of relaxation ahead of the bolus coordinated with a pulse bundle of tension behind the bolus.

The example of "swallowing" is known from personal experience. For investigative purposes, I track activities athrough idealized "Phases of Performance" introduced in Shimmering Silences. "Following" is introduced as repeated activity of waves that vary from dwelling. "Following" involves bundles of waves. Bundles of alternating waves (relaxation and tension) are a development from pulse bundles, like pulse bundles are a development from pulses.

Stage 3.  Pranayama
The pranayama system coordinates two different cycles to mimic "oxygen-acquisition/depletion" in a person's body. The muscular cycle involves activities of a muscular "diaphragm" and muscular "rib-bands," with stretch sensors in the "muscles." The oxygen cycle is generated by external devices that mimic mechanisms of oxygen acquisition (like lungs) and depletion (like metabolism); and such external devices produce signals to the coordinating pranayama system. There are families of possible coordination patterns based on variable timings of movements of diaphragm and rib-bands; and the system can employ continuous variations to travel through and among them. "Balancing" is developed as a matching up of muscular cycles with oxygen cycles, with variations in muscular cycles being subject to control by the engineer.

Stage 4.  Holder
A vice-like clamp is activated by muscles to immobilize an object. The device has a variable grip. Pressure sensors detect motion in the object and activate muscles to "balance" the movement and maintain immobility. Dwelling is based on the minimal force necessary for immobilization, made secure by means of a multiplier that can vary from loose to tight.

Stage 5.  Lifter
Holder (Stage 4) is attached to limb with one joint. The joint dwells in cyclical motion.

Stage 6.  Bodybuilder
Lifter (Stage 5) expanded to a limb with three joints and coordinated systems of muscles. A variety of movements are possible and there are multiple forms of dwelling. (A person can perform bodily experiments, e.g., with a "frozen shoulder," to see why there is no limb with two joints.)

Stage 7.  Sea-legs
A two-dimensional system. Utricle stands on a "table" and the system is designed to maintain Utricle in a vertical position. The system must deal with the fact that the "floor" under the table is tilting back and forth cyclically like the deck of ship at sea. to accomplish, each of the two table legs is a limb with three joints, with coordinated systems of muscles, as developed in Stage 6. "Dwelling" is established by a regular cyclical tilting of the floor and the regular cyclical activity of the legs that maintains silence from Utricle's outputs.

Hex Net Constructions extend the development path commenced with "timing devices" into more complex systems in which device parts are made out of "Hex Net." Proposed "Hex Net" constructions closely resemble Quad Net constructions but with a an underlying "hex" pattern instead of a "quad" pattern. The hex pattern is more capable than timing device constructions when operating in a three-dimensional domain.)

Stage 8.   Stable Table (with a Utricle and 3 legs)
Extension of Sea-legs (Stage 7) to a tripodal system, where Utricle, adapted to a hexagonal shape, stands on a triangular table and the table is held up by three limbs, each with three joints. Dwelling is established by repetitively cyclical tilting of the floor underneath the legs and corresponding cyclical movement of legs that maintains silence on Utricle's outputs. The system adapts to changes in dwellings of floor tilting.

Stage 9.  Etagere
Etagere is constructed from a stack of Stable Tables (Stage 8). Dwelling is in the form of waves through the structure.

Stage 10.  Crawler
Joints between stages in Etagere (Stage 9) are expanded to accommodate limbs with one joint. Each limb extends from the joint to make contact with the floor and the limbs collectively bear the weight of the organism. The organism is tipped over and crawls — like a caterpillar — by means of waves (dwellings) which activate the limbs in repetitive movements that can propel the organism across a terrain.

Stage 11.  Walker
Crawler (Stage 10) is reduced to six limbs but the limbs become limbs with three joints. Dwelling gaits include waves forward and back. In addition, the legs are also organized as two independent Stable Tables (Stage 8), where each tripod is formed by two outside legs on one side and one inside leg on the other. The Stable Tables support dwelling in tripodal motion, with alternating moving tripods, one tripod fixed when the other tripod is in motion.

Stage 12.  Dancer
Walker is enabled to shift between dwelling gaits through employment of Shimmering Sensitivity and to employ gaits that are not capable of dwelling.

Return to Shimmering Silences

Please visit other pages in the "Quad Nets" family:
Timing Devices:   the original presentation of the timing devices system. The message is that brains are not computers.
Quad Nets:  general designs for brain-like devices; timing devices are a special class of devices within the more general class, which has a farther reach.
Embodiment of Freedom:  integrated models - based on Quad Nets - of brains and experience, physics and psychology.
Testimony of Freedom: re-states prior models and extends the inquiry into social and spiritual matters.

Copyright © 2009 Robert Kovsky