Introduction to MeccanIC Specification.
The basic concept is to extend the Meccano system with an extensive system of Electronics.
The "Meccano/MeccanIC" Software,and Hardware Standard
(This is part of the Electric/Electronics Extension Project for Meccano initiated by the author).
Author: Harprit Singh Sandhu
Author's location: East Central Illinois, USA
Note to readers:
This web site outlines what needs to be done to add electrical and electronic components to the Meccano system so that we can build the kind of machines that computers and controllers will now let us build. Today even the simplest machines have electronic components. This standard/ specification attempts to outline one way in which we might get this done. To do this I need the help of the Meccano fan club.
I'm going to try to keep this as straight forward as possible to allow those who are more mechanically oriented, as opposed to being more comfortable with sophisticated programming and computer hardware, to participate in the discussions and put forth their ideas about what is needed and what is not needed by the MeccanIC system.
There may be repetitions herein. These will eventually be resolved and eliminated as they are identified. The sooner we start criticizing this proposal the sooner I can respond. I need input from the group as to whether I am moving in the right direction so please do not hesitate to send me your thoughts and ideas. My e-mail address is above though it would be better if your were to respond through the discussion groups so that all can see what we are up to and participate.
Remember that we are free to change everything here but even so we need to get something on paper so we can get going and have something to shoot at.
Please share your comments on the "½ inch discussion group" and the "Spanner discussion group" so all can see what we are up to and contribute if they are so inclined. I will append the most applicable comments to the end of this monograph as time goes on so they are all in one place and easy to access. Everything being in one file makes it easier to search the data.
I will post changes on the "½ inch discussion group" and the "Spanner discussion group" every time important additions are made to this site so that you can come back and see what is going on and offer further input.
I am also interested in contacting experienced programmers who might be willing to lend their time to this effort. Even if all you can provide is advise and/or an overview, it could be very helpful. If you could contribute a coding effort, it would be a god send.
End of this section.
29 Mar 04
Letter to the reader.
This will be of interest to you if you have an interested in making intelligent machines with your Meccano and are frustrated by the lack of electronic and electrical components. Here I am proposing how we can fill this shortage.
Before I start I need to say that I have not seen anything else anyone has published. (Work done without disclosure, does not count.)
I am providing my time and web space so that the group can create a consensus standard as regards electronic components at one central location. I have put out a collection of ideas that can be taken from or ignored. Every thing can change. If you all have some ideas to share I encourage your participation.
On the mechanical end Meccano provides almost everything you can dream of. On the electronic end it provides nothing but a couple of motors and rudimentary switching. On the other hand the electronic world has exploded. Nothing has happened in Meccano. (Lego does not even come close to getting the job done for us Meccano types. Besides Lego assemblies tend to fall apart if you look away!) For us it is Meccano that needs to be expanded. Immensely so with electronics (and more transmission/gearing/motion options, like high lead ball screws etc!). That is the motivation for the rather large list that I suggested as being able to be a part of Meccano. It is a comprehensive and realistic list that will allow us to build really imaginative machines. Turning the imagination loose for the next generation of engineers and scientists. That's what its all about.
I will be glad to work with anyone anywhere in the world and the web lets us do it almost painlessly. I welcome everyone's interest, everyone's experience, and everyone's ideas.
I have posted the preliminary section on controllers to give you an idea of what I have in mind as regards controllers in that there is special concern about these. It does not define the controllers and it does not define the design. It defines what the controller should be able to do. You are free to design one hundred controllers that meet the "what it does" and the language it obeys and every Meccanoman will know that a "Class I controller" will do this no matter who made it. Any controller manufacturer is free to provide more features than the minimum that say a "Class 1 controller" is specified as providing.