Dartmouth inventors have developed a cubical mechanical device, having one degree of freedom, that is capable of smoothly inverting its faces. The single degree of freedom ensures that there are no collisions or interferences between mechanism components. Furthermore, the mechanism for generating the inverting driving force can be incorporated into any of the device's mechanism components. The device may be used in medical, satellite and military technologies, or as a toy or puzzle.
In terms of medical applications, hooked needles or barbs on the faces of the cubical device allow it to be used as a mechanical suture/bandage in a Robotic Actuated Suturing and Therapeutics for Emergency Response (RASTER) capacity. Optional reservoirs within the faces may contain therapeutic liquids.
For satellite and military technologies, the device may be used in one configuration to provide shielding: for example, to protect the device during launch. Then, upon reaching orbit, the device may transform to an inverted configuration, where solar arrays and/or transmitting and receiving equipment is exposed. The transformation is reversible, which allows for protection of the device from solar flares, space debris and other hazards.
In another embodiment, an initial surface may be reflective for low solar absorption. The face exposed after transformation may be a darker, more absorbent surface for greater heating. Reversibly transforming the device between the two configurations regulates temperature.
In terms of toys and puzzles, objects that change or invert are popular among both children and adults. For example, the cubical device may be a novelty item, a teaching tool, or a home decoration.
This technology is claimed in a pending PCT application. We are seeking an industrial partner interested in its licensing and commercialization. (Ref: J460)
Last Updated: 7/24/12