posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 10:52 AM
solitary venture .
four years in solving this one problem , and finialy success .
peter tried to tell the guy who sold him the nitinol wire , but the guys eyes glazed over .
not reolisizing how important the "memorey shape metal " was to the success .
peter told a guy at work , but found the same sports talk , and weather comments .
trying to tell these guys what he had done , was like pulling teeth from a chicken .
the real problem was not with the people peter was talking to , the problem was with peter .
he was not working on state of the art , he was 30 to 40 years ahead of state of the art .
he was 100 to 150 years ahead of where the people around him stood .
he was building a robot that didn't look like a robot should look like , and just to explain what his success was ,
required him to explain 30 other success's that went unnoticed by any one .
the greatest heart ache in life , is not great struggle , or climbing tall mountains .
it is knowing that you will reach the mountain top , and no one will ever know .
to be alone for years and years in problems that others can't understand , you can't even explain .
peter understood where he stood all to well , but sometimes it was to much.
a hydrolic transisor .
to build a walking robot , was to understand that electricity was control of power.
to make it go , hydrolics was the delivery of power .
with the devices of the 1970's , his walking robot would weight 1500 to 2000 pounds and cost 10's of thousands of dollors
which was not a problem except ... the mechanics would never work .
in the 1960's peter had build simple devices to prove the working functions to arrive at the concepts .
in the mid 1970's he buildt the controls and understood the computer would overtake his solutions... and he could wait for the
a walking robot was not about building a car or a tractor... he was building an air plane .
lift , drag , power , weight ... a four variable math problem .
weight and power were the key elements .
he needed a pressure regulator , piston , control valve , and system to sense the pistons position.
he needed a single one peice solution , for 4 problems .
in 1980's he had this one peice solution , a spool valve that used a spring to give a ratio of the total motion of the pistons
and return the piston to the retracted condition when pressure was not applied .
the memory shaped metal was the new element , it was the key to direct electrical control .
in the 1990's he knew where the solution was , it was just reducing the part count .
14 parts total , 4 moving parts , light weight ... and it would regulate the pressure automaticaly
the robot would use 12 of these "liniar accuators" in each arm , weiveing the outter springs of each piston togather at 4
to make a hydrolic arm that the proto type managed 400 pounds of lift .
the arm he had could move a car engin around with out difficulty .
but he needed to make it lighter , stronger ...
peter didn't use deisel fuel oil as hydrolic fluid with out reason... it was the fuel that would power the robots engin .
his robot needed to be light , and he didn't have the space to carry two or three fluids .
the body of the robot was made of the hydrolic system lines that delivers the pressure and return lines to these " hydrolic
massive coiled springs stored the energy for the hydrolics and pumped his fuel and hydrolic fluid ,
with the side benifit of a fuel injected deisel engin for the creation of the pressure the springs could store .
the circuit boards of the computer made up the fuel tank walls , with the side benifit of cooling the electronics .
by 1990 nearly every device in the walking robot had two or three side functions .
weight was always the problem , make everything do more than one thing , make it simple , light , strong and doing meny things .
the four arms and the design of the mechanics was only 6 innovations that were not simply 50 years ahead of every one around
they were the platform for the sensors which used sound and light ,color and intencity, with more than 10 innovations that he
talk to any one about ... not because they were secrets.. but because it would take months just to explain the simplest problems
they addressed .
he tryied.. god knows he tried , but in the end... it was easier to learn how to build a computer from the circuits up... than
ask for advice from some one who had answers that were more rigid than religious dogma .
it was not that peter didn't want to talk about what he was doing... it was that the state of the art people he talked to
would laugh and say , your doing things that are either 50years behind ... or light years ahead ... of current thinking .
what was truely frustration ... the near shout " you can't , because you can't carry a battery that powerful ! " peter would
think... ' of course! , what do you think I am doing... have you not heard a word I am saying ! don't you understand... don't
you understand all the solutions that I am making , make what your doing irrelivant ! , these are your problems... not mine , I am
past them .'
oh my , yeah ... tell them they are stupid , that will go over well .
tell this guy you need advice from... that you understand perfectly.. that it would be a problem except... you solved that problem
20 years ago , by not having the easy solution that they never abandon'ed , like you did 20 years ago..
peter had 5 seprate notebooks 1) arms 2) gyro-stablized compass 3) memory and electronics 4) fraim and system interfaces 5) sensor
that listed each of the robot systems and how they operated
then the other 4 seprate notebooks 1) schedule program 2) function programs 3) items by location and tasks program 4) other...programs
what is hard to understand is that he had box's of note book's of these same nine... each documenting the failures , the
solutions that failed , the mistakes , the attempts that went well at first and came to a dead end .
the proto types that didn't work , but lead to others that lead to other designs , that changed his thinking .
he had a 10th note book... patent worthy ideas .
when it was all to much , when he wanted to cry in frustration , stop this madness and do something else.
he had 3 # 10 note books .. filled with his history .
the 5 diffrent arm designs , all wonders in their own right , each beautiful in their concepts .
the diffrent body designs , showing the path that leads to where he was now .
the sensors which showed the path of experiment , proto types , concepts , years of thought.
well over 60 patent worthy ideas , each detailed ... and all worthless out side a walking robot application.
and now he sits with the first working solution of this solution .
and no one to talk to , no single person on earth who would understand what he was looking at .
the single answer to success .
don't tell me about how you understand what it feels like .
don't humore your self in thinking you can posibly understand .
to be alone for 40 years in ideas that are like a child seeking to be born .
and you are so alone , so singularly alone that your success only leads to the rapture of emptyness .
just to talk to any other person about what peter had done would be imposable , building the device would lead to the words
" its so simple , any one could have done this "
but what is missed , it took deacades to get here .
" it seems so simple , but why not just make this electronic "
peter would smile and see the can of worms , the explosion of endless problems they can't see .
it was not that peter was smug , or arrogant... it would take an hour just to build a foundation to talk about what they wanted
and how it could be done .
peter knew that their eyes would glaze over , their minds would shut down , their intrest would fade ...
long befor he got to an answer , no one would be left to talk to .
... and these were the people who knew what they were looking at !
what is missed is that the path leading to the simplicity was not one meny could take .
going alone is not the hard part , finding any one where you arrive is .
the farther you go alone... the longer you will be there alone .
madness and genius are close relitives , the longer you spend in the unknown country , the more you slip from one to the other