dreaming of a life after cubicles

Famous Albuquerque Invention – the Rolamite
December 8, 2006, 10:08 am
Filed under: albuquerque, engineering, science

Mark Frauenfelder: Kaden says:

200612071646-1 Ever hear about Rolamites? The only “basic mechanism” invented in the 20th century, they came out of Sandia Labs in the mid ’60’s.I’ve prototyped a few variations, and they’re *damned* fascinating… almost like alien technology, or something that fell through that rip in the space-time continuum that leads to the parallel universe.

A guy named Don Wilkes developed them, and they’re pretty freakin’ cool. A couple of rollers tracked into a spring metal band, and Bob’s yer uncle: stored energy with (no shit) frictionless constrained movement,

I remember reading about them in PopSci when they were first developed, then promptly forgot about them, what with being 9 years old and all. They popped back into my mind last night while pondering the Zen of primary mechanisms.

They currently seem to be *somewhat* popular in force sensor mechanisms, and there’s ongoing research into using ’em in prosthetic joints, but for all intents and purposes, they’ve fallen through the cracks, Makerwise.



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