The Manipulator

By stekgr, May 7, 2012 10:30 am

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Here a short explanation of one of the key components of the KiteGen Stem: The Manipulator

The “manipulator”, so nicknamed because its movements resemble the movement of a human wrist that controls the orientation and position of the kite from the top of the STEM. The distance between the two long antennas vary depending on the needs of the control software and its main function is to assist the take-off and landing manoeuvres.

In standby position, (with the kite hanging from the stem like a hammock) without the manipulator the kite tends to twist on itself and therefore blocking the take off manoeuvres, while keeping the antennas open it is easier to keep the kite open and aligned for the take-off. Taking off with the manipulator helps the air to be channelled in the kite and then closes with extreme speed. Once the kite is in the air the two antennas are closed and aligned to the Stem axis and its presence becomes imperceptible.

Each of the antennas is made in Kevlar/carbon and it is sensorised on 2-axis for the pull of the rope that passes through them. The system is capable to feel the forces in play and react in accordance to these inputs, so that in a situation with open antennas where the kite has just been launched, the pull of the ropes transmit a signal to the motors of the manipulator which react and closes automatically.
The two motors at the base of the stem manage the operating levers of the antennas through a long “push-pull” bowden system (similar to the mechanical principle of a bicycle’s brake). During the landing phase the system again spread apart the antennas facilitating the stability of the kite in its descent.

Lastly the sensitivity of the two antennas helps the whole system in terms of force control and positioning, similarly like the last portion of a fishing rod.

The manipulator, now in its fifth version, is a working reality of the concept idealized by M.Ippolito and reproduced in the model presented in various occasions

You can also download the video from here

KiteGen Model realized in 2008

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