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Distributed Robotics


Molecule

Up Version 1 Version 2 Version 3 Simulation

Version 2

Version2a: The main difference between version 1 and version 2a was size.  Version 2a reduced the atom diameter to 4" instead of the 5" atom diameter used in version 1.  It was intended that version 2a would use the same 1" electromagnets as those used in version 1 but the 16V power requirement of the electromagnets was a design obstacle.  Therefore, a working prototype of version 2a was never built.

Version 2b: Version 2b replaced the 1" electromagnet-based connector used in version 1 with 4 smaller electromagnets:

The Molecule, Version 2b

The small electromagnets only required 5V, making them more practical.  However, the quad-electromagnet connector was much larger in diameter than the previous design, making some movements difficult.  Another problem with the quad design was the difficulty of getting all the electromagnets to be coplanar.  If the magnets are not coplanar, the holding force is greatly diminished.  In the initial prototype, the electromagnets were well aligned, but it proved difficult to get the same performance on a second prototype.

Version 2c: Version 2c saw a return of the 1" electromagnet--this time a custom-designed version which could operate at 6V.  Unfortunately, the holding power of the new design was inferior to the original 16V model (a higher voltage can achieve the same power with less current, allowing the winding wire to be thinner which allows more turns to fit inside the magnet).  A working prototype of this design was produced, but did not perform as well as the first version 2b unit.