Patent Number: 8,577,496

Title: Moving objects across a surface using a vertically-adjustable low friction transfer module

Abstract: An approach is provided to move an object across a surface using a grid of vertically-adjustable low friction transfer modules. A first set of transfer modules is selected from the grid, with the first set of modules being underneath the object. Back-side and front-side sets of modules are identified from the selected first set of modules, with the back-side sets being toward the back of the object opposite to the horizontal direction and the front-side sets being toward the front side of the object that faces the horizontal direction. The back-side and front-side sets are vertically adjusted so that the average of the back-side sets of vertical heights is higher than the average of the front-side sets of vertical heights. The vertical adjustment of the transfer modules causes the object to move across the tops of the transfer modules in the horizontal direction.

Inventors: Masters; Nathan E. (Henderson, NV), Oravec; James Adam (Las Vegas, NV), Rey; Rodrigo Alberto (Las Vegas, NV), Sowders; Matthew Robert (Kirkland, WA)

Assignee: International Business Machines Corporation

International Classification: G06F 7/00 (20060101); B65G 13/08 (20060101); B65G 17/38 (20060101); G05B 19/04 (20060101); B65G 13/02 (20060101); B65G 17/06 (20060101); B65G 39/20 (20060101)

Expiration Date: 1/05/12017