Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Multidirectional Walklegger

Treadmill that walks on you ... and you walk on it
  [vote for,

Imagine two pneumatic legs poking out of the ground with 50x50 cm platforms on the ends. It looks like upside down person with the body stuck in the ground and feet dangling above. You - the runner stand on those feet. Each of the feet contains a camera that looks up at your feet. The brain of this contraption analyzes the images from the cameras in real time and moves the platforms so that they are always under your feet. And yes - it does it very fast, as fast as your running feet can move.

When you look at someone using the Walklegger it looks like they are walking on a mirror.

Running on this thing requires some faith because you must place your feet into what appears to be empty space - except that every time you do anything with your foot (no matter how crazy, the corresponding platform follows - matching your every move like a mirror)

You could walk in any direction (not just forward and backwards), jump, do a 360 jump, simulate stair climbing ... anything that a mirror could see you do from the bottom...

I think I don't need to mention that apart from exercise this would have great applications for virtual reality. (I like playing 3D shooters and I like running so why not combine the two in VR environment?) Linked to a walking robot it could also serve as a control mechanism.

ixnaum, Sep 23 2005

(?) Multidirectional Walklegger http://www.florien....gger/walklegger.gif
Blue print [ixnaum, Sep 23 2005]

Scroll down to the video. It's rather good. http://www.springwalker.com/
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Sep 23 2005]


       Dance Dance Revolution will never be the same again.
wagster, Sep 23 2005

       I think this is a good idea (VR definately needs something like this), but I feel robotic control has quite a way to go before this sort of thing is possible. The speed a person moves their legs, and in such a potentially unpredicatable manner would make it v difficult to get the speed-power balance right. A bun for the idea, but its a little while off yet.
fusion_cat, Sep 23 2005

       Imagine the runner's foot coming down in front of him:
The camera sees this and positions the platform correctly. Once the foot comes down, the camera sees no more movement and keeps the platform stationery. The next step sends the runner off into the distance...
I think the platform needs some kind of force sensor, too, so that the foot can move horizontally with a small amount of back-force. If there is no force, then the runner simply falls over, like he is on ice.
Ling, Sep 23 2005

       So not to do with Star Wars then?
hidden truths, Sep 23 2005

       I can't believe you stole a picture of me and used it in your link, [ixnaum].   

       If you could actually pull this off, it would be a good start in improving artificial proprioception.   

       And then I'd like to borrow your work, because my robot army is having trouble walking over rocky terrain.
sleeka, Sep 23 2005

       [ixnaum] your dude has a big head. as big as a bun!!
chocolateraindrops, Sep 23 2005

       (+) From the title I thought you meant something like this. [link]   

       // Once the foot comes down, the camera sees no more movement and keeps the platform stationery. The next step sends the runner off into the distance... //   

       You are absolutely right [ling] ... of course once the foot is on the platform, the platform moves back in the opposite direction of the runner's body. In a jump you would push on the platform very hard but the platform would just move backward ... while in the air it would reposition itself in front ready for your landing. The underlying robotic technology would have to be quite smart (it might also need some other sensors other than cameras)   

       I know I'm pushing the limits of what current technology can do - but this is half-bakery .. plus I was hoping that someone might be inspired to come up with a competing design that is easier to implement.
ixnaum, Sep 23 2005

       2 fries .. ya I saw that on TV once. Maybe the spring walker could serve as the stationary platform - it might cut down the complexity of designing the walklegger from scratch.
ixnaum, Sep 23 2005


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