I have no idea if this project will ever come to fruition or not, but I am willing to try it!
I have wanted to try my hand at building mechanical memory since I saw a video on a wooden Turing machine. It used a belt of wood planks that had pegs in them that poked out either side. His machine would go through and poke them on one end or the other to slide them around And change them to 0s or 1s. I want to do something similar, but, as is the nature of me, I dream far out. As it stands, this project will be a chain of 8bit links, each a half inch in length and theoretically about 2-4 inches wide. They will have rotating bits in them that can be twisted by a cross shape and with be able to spin 90 degrees. The link will have a gap to that a photo transistor and laser diode can be used to read the bits, while a servo motor can be used to write them.
And, to top it all off, there will be a p1 controlling it. And it will behave like a usb flash drive, only 1kB large. Given the size limitations (I don’t want to assemble 3 million links by hand), I will likely format it with FAT16.
Right now, this is only hearsay, as my computer is down and I have a half dozen other unfinished projects, but this would be great fun to build! As I see it, I have 4 steps to do:
1. Figure out a design for the data belt. I need to figure out how to get 8 bits read/write capable in a link and then 3D print 1024 links. It will need to be able to roll it up without messing up the data.
2. Get the read/write mechanism working and build reels for the belt. This belt is probably going to be about 42 feet long. I want to store it a bit like a vhs or cassette is wound.
3. Learn PropC. I would rather tackle something like this in a sorta familiar language. That and I never could get a handle on spin. If I could get ersmith’s tool going, (I am sorry I cannot remember it’s name) or at least the compiler it uses, I could use PropC and Spin libraries if needed!
4. Get the prop to mimic a USB disk. This will be the tough part. I either need to find an ic that will convert usb disk commands to read/write commands or figure out how to connect the propeller directly to usb.
5. Format it with FAT16! :P
Please note that it will be a long time before this takes off and I may never finish it. I am welcome to ideas on how to do this. I would like any help on mimicking a usb drive that I can get. I should have my computer fixed and be able to write code in about 5 days.