No mechanical switches and polymorphic

Any mechanical switch, whether the switch in a table lamp or switch currents of thousands of amps at power plants, works on the same principle: its metal contacts close and open, the switching circuits. And, apparently, in the field of electrical engineering can not come up with anything new.

However, the engineering thought is not static: in Rybinsk, Yaroslavl region developed a polymorphic switches, the principle of which is different from the "classic" and opens the designers of systems management opportunities.


Says Director General of Research and Production Enterprise "Tenzosensor" Ph.D. Vladimir Nikitin and his deputy, chief designer of the Roman Belov.

         The idea of the switch, which can perform several functions, we have patented in Russia in 2003. Then she supported the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises in the scientific and technical field, known as IM Bortnik Fund. In 2008, we won the competition of research of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, two years later won the competition of the Ministry of Education and Science, and in 2011 we supported the Fund "Skolkovo". We can say that our project was born only because of the competitive program to support research projects. This technique has been successfully used in Europe and the United States. In our country, with all its blemishes and costs, it is also beginning to work and spectacularly successful — new technologies and inventions. In Russia there are many talented young people, and to create the conditions for its normal creative and commercial growth.

         We named our multifunction switch polymorphic (from the Greek word "?????" — Which has many kinds, shapes), implying a wide range of its capabilities. For example, at one point in time, it is a simple toggle switch (the function of on-off), in the other — is a switch on a few positions, and the third — a miniature joystick. These functions can be changed during operation, that is, in real time.

In polymorphic no mechanical switch contacts. It is almost entirely made of flexible conductive polymer whose resistance changes when squeezed (the so-called thin-film effect), and weighs less than a gram. The pressure on the polymer plate produces a type of joystick control lever. Integrated microprocessor measures the angle of tilt, the force pressing, electrical resistance value, and transmits the data to the computer.

         Polymorphic switches can be used as dimmers, power or motor speed, a computer keyboard, for controlling various devices, machines and mechanisms until spacecraft. In contrast to conventional switches, polymorphic may respond to single and double pressing and pressing distinguish long from short, which is very difficult to achieve using traditional methods. A wide range of functions required to work in three-dimensional spaces with few degrees of freedom, virtual and real. 



                                              (The appearance of the polymorphic pereklyuchatilya)   


          Now the main body of the manual management of complex mechanisms — is the lever. But the hand is too slow to respond to a command sent by the brain of the operator, so we decided not to use the hand and fingers, which are ten times as "nimble". For example, the stroke of the control handle aircraft — about 150 mm, and the switch lever polymorphic enough to shift the finger of 8-10 mm. Enter control commands can be much faster, which is particularly important in the management of high-speed and highly maneuverable aircraft, up to sub-orbital and space technology. 

         The pilots and astronauts in flight are experiencing tremendous overload, and to perform any action they need to make more power. Polymorphic switch requires much less effort than traditional control lever or wheel of the aircraft, so to operate the device with it will become easier. Theoretically, using polymorphic switches can be controlled aircraft even at extreme (more than 7,5 g) g-forces encountered when maneuvering at high speeds in a dogfight when to use the normal controls is difficult or even impossible, and thus each fraction of a second counts .

         Generally speaking, the longer the lever, the easier it is to perform precise maneuvers. However, the movement of the fingers make a much more accurate and faster than the whole arm. Let us remember how young children learn to draw: first child is taking the pencil in his fist, and his figure this gives a gruff and inept. But over time, children learn fine motor skills, begin to hold a pencil and draw the fingers is much more precise and accurate.

         To verify the validity of the above, give it a try an experiment: sitting at the computer, move your mouse over any point in the text on the screen with your fingers, as usual, and then do the same thing, but moving the whole arm, not your fingers. The result only confirms the belief that use of the fingers not only increases speed but also accuracy. As another example, we can mention the piano or guitar — they perform a virtuoso work, plucking the strings or by pressing with your fingers, his hand almost motionless. Otherwise, it is impossible to perform even relatively simple melodies, not to mention the complex musical masterpieces. 

         On the basis of a workable model of polymorphous switches, we have developed a new management — polidzhoystik. It looks like two fixed handles that contain miniature joysticks. The pilot still holds on to handle the maneuvers shocks and overloads and multiple fingers simultaneously manage multiple degrees of freedom of the aircraft. It is safe to say that today polidzhoystik — the most functionality and performance management tool and enter information. At the exhibitions we demonstrate control with the help of space simulators and aircraft, harvesters and real quadrocopter. Poly-joystick provides the number of degrees of freedom, enough to command a link unmanned aircraft, tanks, or a group of robotic harvesters. 

         The transition from conventional instruments and toggle switches to the poly-joystick requires retraining tion. But the biggest difficulties in this should arise, since the very idea polidzhoystika involves reprogramming under physiological features of each pilot. In other words, you can customize personalized management system. The process of development polidzhoystikov, perhaps analogous to the transition to the automatic gearbox after a long drive vehicle with manual gearshift system. The first time the driver hand involuntarily reaches for the handle of the gearbox, but then everything comes back to normal, and he was not distracted from watching the road and driving. 

         At present, the most promising area of application of polymorphic switches — interface "human-computer". Leading developers of operating systems can not create a three-dimensional interface because it is impossible to effectively and conveniently manage volumetric images like this make the computer mouse in flat "windows» Windows and other operating systems. Polidzho
ystiki and polymorphic switches allow you to create a very simple means to control virtual objects in three-dimensional space.

          Designed us polymorphic switch — a basic element from which you can create almost any switching device or control system. Some experts believe that polidzhoystiki become an integral part of the control of all land, space and aircraft of the future as long as there will be neurointerfaces by which operators will carry out their management power of their thought. 

          To be fair to say that we are not the only company in the world, which creates a control system on a new principle. A similar design, called EasyPoint, there is the Austrian company «Ams». This is a two-dimensional linear encoder on the basis of magnetic field sensors (Hall sensors) and a permanent magnet. The characteristics of these sensors in some ways even better than our polymorphic switches. For example, it is manufactured as a single unit on a single crystal semiconductor wafer, so its size and weight of our polidzhoystika even less. However, these benefits can not be called unconditional: for example, miniature sensors EasyPoint in some situations it may be more of a hindrance. They are very sensitive to external magnetic fields and vibration of miniature magnets eventually subsides. Furthermore, systems of multiple sensors field magnets influencing each other and, as a consequence, the control signal causes distortion. In fact, the sensor EasyPoint — it's just a two-axis slide switch: control commands produces it does not tilt handle joystick, and the shift of the control key into one of the sides from the center by 0,7-3 mm. With such a small amount of movement is beginning to affect the so-called static tremor (involuntary movement) of the finger with the amplitude of 0.3-0.7 mm, which causes false alarms management systems. 

          Polymorphic switches are deprived of all these shortcomings, they are simpler in design and cheaper to produce, do not require expensive technology and imported equipment, you can make them entirely from domestic components and materials (especially important for the defense industrial complex).

          Own production NPP "Tenzosensor" has not, he is only concerned with research activities, and manufacturing orders developed products to other companies (in the present conditions it is cheaper and faster than creating their own production). Our developments are interested in OAO "Smolensk factory radio components", which produces products for the aviation, industrial and household equipment. In JSC "Ramenskoye Design", which is developing avionics for aircraft and helicopters, according to our switches are quite suitable for their control systems. But, as always, innovation in Russia is extremely difficult to implement, especially in aviation and aerospace. This is a closed structure, where everyone knows each other and are accustomed to rely on their own strength. To introduce something there, the developer of the powerful to overcome the psychological and technical barriers. It is therefore of great importance are the recommendations of the authority, human contact. And help us in providing an effective system of fund management "Skolkovo" Cluster team "Space" and its leader, a member of the expert networks of "RVC", cosmonaut Sergei Zhukov.

          Recently, our company has won the competition "Be the first to Skolkovo." The winners of this competition were awarded the right to become the first residents who obtained office space in Hypercube, the first building innovation city, which opened in September. 

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