Macroscale active align-and-fuse connectors

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This article defines a novel term (that is hopefully sensibly chosen). The term is introduced to make a concept more concrete and understand its interrelationship with other topics related to atomically precise manufacturing. For details go to the page: Neologism.

This is about advanced big macroscale surface interfaces in future gem-gum products. Surface interfaces s big that they are clearly visible by human eye but with microscale to nanoscale active connecting surface features that are small enough to be invisible to the human eye.

They shall provide functionality such that parts can (if so desired) be assembled/disassembled manually (by human hands) with absolute minimal effort. Simply bringing the surfaces into contact very roughly aligned should suffice. The fine alignment and locking should then happen pretty much automated. After connection the connected parts shall be indistinguishable from one single part. No remnants reminding on the connection process like flanges or such. There shall not even be any visible seams. Except maybe by displayed colored indicator lines (that usually are turned of).

One must account for

  • the much lower human positioning accuracy of human hands than robotic systems and
  • the dirty environment.

Surfaces must recognize the partner surface capture it at some spot (probing on command), then align it correctly and expel all of the dirt the surfaces have accumulated.

Use cases

Adding small local tweaks and exceptions to transport and transmission infrastructure. e.g.:

  • adding a "T" somewhere into the center of a long unbranched pipe/tube/line/...
  • slicing up and taking out pieces of a street at a convenient location chosen by a (default off) touch interface

  • Avoiding the detour over a virtual model:
    Direct hands on prototyping instead of virtual force feedback VR modelling or a utility fog approach in-between.
  • changing the macroscale configuration of dome device (e.g. a vehicle)
  • Sculpture art with pre-made specialized high performance base parts instead of low performance ultra general purpose utility fog clay.

Many macroscopic large aspect ratio structures for transport and transmission at the macroscale like e.g. water pipes, streets, ... can't be created as one whole / in one piece (im place assembly) by a single nanofactory (except flexible lines ...).

Initial deployment and final removal of such infrastructure structures requires considerable effort and not much creativity (its highly repetitive work) so assembly must be automated via specialized traversing assembly robotics (this could be seen as a specialized convergent assembly level high up in the size stack).

Having active align an fuse connectors assembled automatically doe snot hurt. Assembly robotics then is just more accurate than needed.

Merging of machine phases:

When the two halve spaces get connected together it may be necessary to make links between moving parts and complex mechanical metamaterials. Also the opening of airlocks may be involved. This kind of connection mechanisms won't be easy to design.

Related

Also seamless but very different

This is not to confuse with seamless covalent welding). While both are seamless:

  • this here is macroscale, the seam is just to small to be visible, and any good design should be reversible
  • seamless covalent welds are nanoscale (to microscale at best) and truly indistinguishable from the surrounding material, a perfect (irreversible) fusion.