Spherical Vehicle Design by Michael W. Reed I have been thinking this idea over for a few months now, and I thought that it was time to ask for help. My inspiration for this idea came from trying to think of the most all-terrain vehicle possible. Once I realized a sphere would be it; I started to think about the possibilities. I started with a transparent sphere; being turned inside by an axis across a diameter; going through the sphere, and attaching to some half-sphere chassis on the top half; the motor and driver being in the center. I saw the need for a weight hanging down, somehow, from the engine, both for stability and keeping the sphere the only thing spinning, and to somehow shift left and right for turning. Next, I realized that, first; the turning wasn’t going to work, if the weight shifted to the side; the sphere would not turn, as I had imagined, but also continue it's straight forward course (hello momentum!). And also, the driver needs to breathe! At this point, I was just going to have an air tank in there, or something, I wasn’t sure. Also, notice that the previous sketch is without the outside chassis, that can’t work, it seems. As far as the "hello momentum!" problem, I realized that the axis would have to slide, to keep balance. ... but how do we accomplish that? If the axis slides, a new method of attaching the axis heads to the sphere is needed. This seemed rather tricky, because dependant upon where the sphere surface is, during its spinning, the axis must be able to grab hold, and detach from the sphere anywhere, and the attachment can't be too hard, it must allow for a relatively slow transition of spin direction, and we must maintain visibility. It seemed the best idea was to use electrical magnets on the axis heads. My first idea was to have metal plates on the outside of the sphere, being always somewhat attached with a minimum of charge, having them float around on the outside. No, that wasn't going to work; how do I keep them from getting knocked off? Put the whole thing inside yet another sphere, with some kind of transparent, gluey substance in between, so that the plates can float around, while maintaining friction with the inner sphere? No, too damn messy, not too mention the problems with entering/exiting. I guessed that the sphere, itself should be made out of metal; I was thinking super thin titanium (or some alloy), which should be transparent enough. Besides all that, how exactly do I accomplish the said axis sliding? It seemed I would have to add more axis. To be able to have complete rotational control; it seems we need 3, or rather 6, if, and I think it’s needed, independent, although, of course each inline axis would be in the spinning the same direction. To turn, the different axis heads grab hold harder or softer, combined with axis spin, and the heads should, it seems, also be able to somewhat disconnect from the axis, while still grabbing the sphere, to allow the inside sphere to turn as well, to allow the driver to face differing directions. Granted, the mechanical workings of the transmission, and programming for the engine computer will be complex and tricky, but it seems possible. What about the top axis, how does it get around the driver? I guess it should be split up, two rods coming out of the engine on either side of the driver, and then rejoining over their head. Another issue is shock absorption. While a sphere is the most structurally stable object, it also tends to bounce off of things it collides into. This bouncing multiplies the shock given to anything inside of it. So I thought; why not have the axis also be shocks? The shocks would also have to allow for pull, as when the center stuff goes one way; one side squishes, the other stretches. Also, as is seen in the sketch, the axis heads need to be able to swivel somewhat, and smoothly glide over the spheres inner surface. Next issue: debris. How the heck do I keep all of the crap I’m driving over off of the sphere, so I can see? Titanium is, itself, mildly self-cleaning (although somewhat dangerous due to possible (though unlikely) contact with deuterons (it becomes radioactive)), but not enough to be able to see whilst driving through mud. So, how about the additional sphere outside idea, from before, only this time the outer sphere is a thick, wire frame, of sorts. I'm not sure on the sizes of the Xs and Y, and… how would I get out of the outer sphere? I guess that the frame could be chain-linked. The squares in between the segments would be connection points, or maybe the segments could just attach to each other? With a chain-link, I could detach certain links, somehow, and create a door for myself. Anyway, with this setup, I could install hoses to spray off debris. Also, how do I get out of the inner sphere? Also, to keep the center sphere centered, I would need some kind of axis bridge. I guess it only "shocks" in between the spheres. OK, but then the outer sphere's size would have to get be relative to the speed available for travel, which I'd hope could be pretty fast, at least 100 m.p.h. I'm not sure of the size. Also, that whole breathing issue, yeah, it could be an air tank, but that’s… sketchy. I guess I could split the inner sphere at the halfway line, and have some kind of air filter diving the halves. Also, the axis heads, and inside surface of the outer sphere need to be coated with a super non-friction material, and the top axis needs a constant, slightly greater magnetic force, to hold the inside up, and reduce drag on the bottom. And, also, when parked, the vehicle will have to be supported somehow. *That is all I have come up with, so far... comments? I have attached an MS Word 2000 .doc file of this including some rough sketches.