Recently some friends and I conceived of a method for visualizing in real-time the pitch/yaw/roll of an aircraft where a model aircraft is mounted inside a gimbal; then, the controller for the gimbal would receive telemetry from a flight simulator and update the position of the aircraft to show you how steep the aircraft is climbing or what compass direction it is heading. (see this diagram for an idea of what we are talking about.) Not free-floating, but with a motor at each axle to keep the position correct.

We began our search for this by scouring the internet but haven't found any examples of a motorized gimbal like this. There are several difficulties we have encountered in designing our own, also.

What is a safe and effective way to translate control signals and power through an axle so that the inner gimbal ring motors will receive enough power to turn a balance 3D model on all axes? We considered wireless communication for the motors and using batteries but the batteries would add a lot of weight to each ring which would need to be balanced out.

Also, has this idea already been proposed and dismissed for being impractical? I don't want to reinvent the wheel (no pun intended) but also don't know the correct search terms to find a product like this.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me,

  • $\begingroup$ You can end up in a gimbal lock. But this would really only happen if you try to visualize a fighter jet or a acrobatics plane. You should be able to use similar ultrasonic motors on the rings as cameras use. $\endgroup$ – joojaa Sep 8 '16 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ Right. I am not sure whether we could reduce the likelihood of a gimbal lock using a heuristic or not. $\endgroup$ – dingo_kinznerhook Sep 8 '16 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ Not if you need to follow the planes orientation over time. $\endgroup$ – joojaa Sep 8 '16 at 17:26

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