Pin Array Approach to the Dynamic Sand Table

Period of Performance: 12/20/2001 - 06/19/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Cybernet Systems Corp.
3741 Plaza Drive Array
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Principal Investigator


Cybernet plans to provide a solution to the dynamic sand table problem by employing an array of pins driven by an arm equipped with a vector of actuators. The pins shall lie at rest upon a board filled with holes for the pins. The array board will be similar to an optical breadboard with one major exception; the holes will be as close together as the hardware allows. The pins will be placed such that they can be pushed up to protrude past the surface of the array board. This is how the device will display elevation data. Each pin's hole will have a clamping mechanism that will engage when the pin has reached the height it is supposed to represent. The pins will be pushed by a moving arm carrying a row of actuators. The entire device will be controlled by an implementation of stepped motors utilizing a simple open-looped control scheme. There are a few possible markets for a device such as the one proposed. First of all the military wishes to have such a device for use in tactical planning. This corresponds with the contractual goals of this proposal. Secondly, Construction companies who build large commercial buildings or complexes, such as theme parks or major shopping centers, may wish to have such a device for use in the planning stages of their work. They could get a physical feel for several different plans of what they plan to build, without having to build several models. Thirdly, the oil and precious materials industry may be interested in such a device for use when prospecting. The device could be used to give a field agent a feel for the area when a site visit is unwarranted. It could also be used in the planning stages of material extraction (mining and drilling).