John, tell us a bit more about the experimenting you did. Where'd you find the plans, and how did you get into this?
We didnt 'find any plans' so to speak. Rather one of our group had been reading a few too many scientific journals. Most of the playing around we do
comes from one of us mentioning something that is theoretically possible... or already done and proven. Then we break it down.
With reading the nerve pulses. We already knew that the nerves used electrical signals, thats a given, what we didnt know is in what format. Were in
robotics, not bio-mechanics or whatever you would call their field, so we had to find out for ourselves. Basically we just kept trying to read signals
from our forearms, while we clenched our fists and opened our hands, until we could find some sort of distinguishable difference between the two. Then
we used that for the claw's signal to open or close. After a while, we realised that we could get it more accurate, by using different strengths of
the signal from your arm, to move the robotic arm only a little bit. That one took alot of fine tuning, and calibration... and re-calibration, and
more re-calibration. Basically we had to match up the movement of the robotic arm with our own just about every 3 to 5 minutes we used it.
Now as for powering an LED with your own body... that was alot more basic. Do you remember back in public school, just about half of the science fair
projects were "How to get electricity from a potato/lemon"? Well, we figured it can be done with the human body.
We're not actually extracting power from our bodies, rather, were using our bodies as something a cathode and anode can use as its battery.
Needless to say, we didnt want to cut skin, and needless to say, it didnt provide much power at all. As the "light a bulb with a lemon" trick, works
because the lemon is acidic, we are not... well, maybe mike was... he acts like he does enough of it.
That wasnt all it was made out of... I do make all of this sound basic, we of course also inverted any lower peaks that we could pick up from the
body, much like an AC/DC converter does, only our waveform, it looked more like we were playing in the stock market... heh.
Needless to say, that last one we basically said, screw it... and walked away from it.
I think it was after that, we found a video of a gauss cannon... so we tried to make one using electromagnets. Wow... talk about hard to re-load.
Thats why we used electromagnets, so we could shut it off, so we could actually re-arm it. We put quite a few dents in the wall that week.
cant remember where we found the video that got us interested... maybe youtube, or google video... I dont know, search for gauss cannon. They are very
simple to make... just a bunch of magnets, and when you see it, you'll notice I wasnt joking... just a bunch of magnets.
Of course, we also do actual work... but we like the fact that the lab is open to our curiosity aswell.
[edit on 18-9-2006 by johnsky]