guidance for pre-newbie

Hello, with many apologies for the clueless question and without further ado, here is my plan:

I want to build a sheet constructed from many small cubes, that will function like a pixelated 3d surface. This surface will be graphically represented in the computer and each shape I will construct with this surface, will appear on the screen. My (probably naive) plan is to make many little cubes, each cube will contain a 3 axis accelerometer, and then... start praying. well that won't help, but I plan to learn the basics of connecting an accelermeter to arduino board and all other necessities, and then to a computer, and then to deal with programming. I know this is very general description but what I would like to know is: 1. does my plan generally makes sense? 2. can I connect many accelermeters to one arduino board and get representation of each accelermeters movement on the computer? 3. which parts I will need to buy besides the basic kit (may be I need a special borad?) and accelermeters?

That's it I guess, terribly sorry if this sounds very crazy and will be glad to hear any helpful information. here is a link to the way I would like each cube to act https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhiHyIj1Nas&feature=player_embedded but I want to have many cubes tied to each other act like this. also make each cube as small as possible. THANK YOU ANYWAY!

  1. does my plan generally makes sense?

Logically, yes. Financially, no.

  1. can I connect many accelermeters to one arduino board and get representation of each accelermeters movement on the computer?

As long as you define many as the number of I/O pins divided by 3.

My (probably naive) plan is to make many little cubes

With wires connected? Containing an accelerometer? Your definition of little appears to deviate from mine.

holgita: I want to build a sheet constructed from many small cubes, that will function like a pixelated 3d surface.

It's hard to imagine what you intend to do with this. Are you hoping to use your hardware as some sort of 3D scanning drawing tool? Using inertial sensing to detect the position of what is probably a very large number of cubes does not seem feasible (or cost effective), but if you trying to make your own 'minecraft' style scanning/drawing system perhaps there is a more practical way to achieve that.

thank you both for the reply, yes I think you understood my idea with a sort of 3d scanning drawing tool. how can I achieve this with more practical way?

holgita:
thank you both for the reply, yes I think you understood my idea with a sort of 3d scanning drawing tool.
how can I achieve this with more practical way?

How many ‘blocks’ do you envisage this system having, and how big would they be? Are you expecting to have the blocks do anything (change colour?) or just have some mechanism to position them?

I realize I won't be able to build a big amount of blocks, lets say the smallest block I can build is 2.5X2.5X2.5 cm (can it really be?, I found this accelerometer http://www.dealextreme.com/p/3-axis-accelerometer-sensor-module-for-arduino-red-147319), so I can have a surface of 12.5X12.5cm built from 25 blocks. this will allow me to build a very pixelated shape, and the more blocks I will have the less pixaled it would be. this is not optimum but in order to just see if it is possible at all it will be ok. I don't need the blocks to do anything, they can be connected to each other with small joints/springs or whatever I choose, all I want is each block to "report" its location and change its location on the computer so that I will get a graphical representation of each block location at every moment. It is possible that this solution is not practical/affordable, but In order to prove the potential will do the work. Is it possible/better to take a rubber sheet, with many integrated movement/bend sensors in it so that each shape that I will make with the rubber sheet will be shown on the screen?

In any case THANK YOU all for trying to help

Let's see -- 25 sensors means 3X25 =75 Analog ports to read -- quickly... On an arduino? And send the results elsewhere? My Mega 2560 bogs down with four sensors 1 ADC connected -- the rest connected to the I2C interface, the data sent via UDP to my PC. My 32MHz ARM 7 is not that much better.

I say it's a waste of time on an Arduino.

On a CORTEX-M3? Maybe! The TI Stellaris line will sample up to 500,000 times a second (500KSPS) on all LM3Sxxxx series boards and 1MSPS on a higher end processor -- like the LM4Fxxxx series.

But then you have to add extenders for Analog ports -- so Multiple TWI/I2C extenders would be better.

I think this is a very advanced project -- just because of the synchronization required -- but what do I know -- I just do arithmetic.

My recommendation is that you do the arithmetic first -- purchasing second.