Universal Articulated Joints (UAJ) is one of the most crucial technological advances that enable the creation of Mechanised Environmental Constructs (or Mechs for short).
The original UAJs were designed as means to an end â€“ to provide a connection between one Mech part and another whilst transfering power, connectivity and providing structural support. The original UAJ's were little more than powered relays, offering little in the way of passing command and control signals across the bridge. The original Mechs utilised separate data connection cables which were prone to snagging during use if the Mech part's range of motion was not carefully considered when connecting the parts together.
Eventually, the UAJ started incorporating more advanced power connections and eventually also included data connections as well, allowing the Mech to pass instructions to the furthest reaches of the Mech's outer parts without worry of snagging cabling during use.
Since their initial design, the UAJs have been refined and now, modern UAJs provide far more services to the Mechs internal infrastructure and now often incorporate internal computing power with several advanced versions allowing the Mech's CPU to be taken offline for short periods of time and the Mech still function, albeit with slower reaction times and increased lag between control inputs by the pilot and the actual motion being carried out, but even then, it is still within acceptable normal functioning parameters for most day to day activities such as mining.
Function and Usage
They allow a limited degree of articulation between two component parts of a Mech in the vertical axies, but unlimited 360 degree freedom in the horizontal access (part clearances permitting of course) and also provide bi-directional data and power pathways, although the Mech's Cockpit to fully interface with all its connected parts. This enables full control over the component parts, allowing for the Mech's Central Processing Unit to receive near real-time status updates such as the current ammo count, telemetry gathered from any sensing equipment installed as well as providing real-time feedback from motivators such as speed, angle, current grip loads. The bi-directional nature also allows the Mech's CPU to adjust parameters on the fly, such as reducing power consumption of one part to bolster another if required, or adjust the rate of fire on automatic weaponry to conserve ammo on longer protracted fights.
All Mech Parts manufactured today provide a standard interface for UAJ mounting â€“ literally allowing any Mech Pilot to take disparate elements from various different manufacturers and installing them on the same Mech without worrying about connectivity.
The UAJ provide a unified connection method for mounting parts to a Mech. Dubbed the "control beam and spike," or UBS by Mech pilots, these take the form of a cross-shaped beam that fits into a corresponding slot on the Mech's in the Mech's cockpit infrastructure.
The beam structure is intended to provide a solid connection between the two parts, as well as allowing for targeting corrections in the UAJ itself.
There is also a spike built into the structure of the beam, which is the means of data and power transfer, as the interfacing hole on the parts have several contact rollers which connect with the spike (which is the male part of the interface).
Standard Datagram Connectivity
All Mech Parts interface with the CPU automatically through the use of a specially developed interfacing technology known as SDC. Upon connection, each part will try attempt to register itself with the Mech's CPU housed in the Cockpit by sending connection codes via the UAJs. Once the part is registered, it will then send the CPU the specific software the CPU (this is known as the "Interface Layer" in Mech Pilot circles) which allows the CPU to "talk" to the part and for the part to talk back to the CPU. This system allows older CPUs to connect to newer technologies without the need for upgrading the software or the CPU with each new part that comes on the market.
Each UAJ must conform to the following specifications:-
- Maximum power transfer: 922KW
- Maximum weight limit: 28,000Kg
- Data transfer limit: 2.96Gb/second
- Internal Processing Frequency: 2GHz
- Traverse Speed (Horizontal): 82° / Sec
- Traverse Speed (Vertical): 35° / Sec
- Max Traversal (Horizontal): 360°
- Max Traversal (Vertical): 33°
There are also UAJs for Locomotors, offering the same benefits as a standard UAJ, but built to take the higher weight loads of the full Mech being supported by the UAJ. Locomotor UAJS are rated up to 69,000Kg weight limits, but lack the vertical traverse of normal UAJs.