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Novel Drive Wheel System Based On Spinning Sphere

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the spin-do-not-sit dept.

Robotics 104

An anonymous reader writes "A Bradley University student has built a mobile robot that uses a hemispherical omnidirectional gimbaled, or HOG, drive wheel. It consists of a black rubber hemisphere that rotates like a spinning top, with servos that can tilt it left and right and forwards and backwards. The HOG system delivers an amount of torque directly proportional to the tilt of the hemisphere, allowing the robot to move incredibly fast nearly instantaneously."

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Thats looks great (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702640)

How about making a robot with four legs. The foot on the bottom of each leg would be a wheel like this. Servos which control the attitude of the legs would also control the direction the wheel operates in.

Re:Thats looks great (4, Funny)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702676)

Would you paint them blue, with a big pod on the back for a person to ride in?

Re:Thats looks great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36702790)

They would need a cute voice synthesizer and a solid AI to assist the person too!

Re:Thats looks great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703006)

Oh for mod points. I wouldst give thee +1 funny.

Re:Thats looks great (0)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703540)

For anyone not getting the reference: Ghost in the Shell :) Great manga and great anime.

Re:Thats looks great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36705082)

Don't forget the cute, child-like voices!

Re:Thats looks great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36707108)

I wish I could +1 you for the Tachikoma reference :D

Re:Thats looks great (1)

ThatCopyrightMadow (2357420) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702712)

I agree.

My response to fellow Slashdotters: it might not be stargazer; it might be pew pew along the lines of magazine.

Re:Thats looks great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36702734)

Someone in the Youtube thread commented that FUCK YOU GAY AS$ N@#$ERS MY GRANDMOTHER COULD BUILD SOMETHING COOLER THAN THIS PIECE OF SH*ET EATING FAGY GARBAG!!SHIFT1!!! --

Sorry, wrong comment -- someone in another YouTube comment mentioned that the Tachikoma robots from Ghost in the Shell features a robot like that, with feet that can transform into hemisphere drives.

Re:Thats looks great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36704398)

I had that same idea! I just need to get ahold of my own Big Dog and it's done!

Re:Thats looks great (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36706504)

Re:Thats looks great (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36708010)

Thanks. I had no idea what that reference was about.

Re:Thats looks great (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36708512)

Heh heh. Huge Masamune Shirow fan. Great mech designs. Every now and then in his manga he'd have a spread of just the guns or innards of the mechs. I'm not sure how practical his designs are as far as real-life implementation goes, but I can wish.

Awesome prototype! (1)

Jstlook (1193309) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702662)

My biggest concern is how much control you have over the accuracy and precision. The friction between the power and pavement surfaces is dependent on how much that wheel is worn down. While driving the response you get as the wheel ages will change.

Re:Awesome prototype! (2)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702776)

The friction between the power and pavement surfaces is dependent on how much that wheel is worn down. While driving the response you get as the wheel ages will change.

Just like a traditional wheel!

Re:Awesome prototype! (2)

Jstlook (1193309) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702950)

Well, yes and no. The difference is in a traditional wheel as you change speed that response doesn't change. In this system, the feedback you get will be dependent on the speed you're going. In a traditional wheel as the response changes (i.e. normal tire wear) there is really no appreciable change in steering or friction.

The added issue is that your velocity *and* direction are dependent on where the tire contacts the driving surface. That really isn't an issue with a flat surface, but I don't typically drive on a dried desert lake bed. On a bumpy surface you'll experience unintended vast changes in speed, direction, and taste (namely if you vomit).

It looks awesome for robots in a controlled setting is what I'm saying, but not for typical day-to-day driving .. at least not yet.

Re:Awesome prototype! (2)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703012)

The difference is in a traditional wheel as you change speed that response doesn't change. In this system, the feedback you get will be dependent on the speed you're going. In a traditional wheel as the response changes (i.e. normal tire wear) there is really no appreciable change in steering or friction.

The added issue is that your velocity *and* direction are dependent on where the tire contacts the driving surface. That really isn't an issue with a flat surface, but I don't typically drive on a dried desert lake bed. On a bumpy surface you'll experience unintended vast changes in speed, direction, and taste (namely if you vomit).

This, I think, is where computer controls and feedback can help. Something to adapt wheel control for differing terrain, wear, angles, and contact points.

The inventor needed none of that for this video; he controlled the gimbal directly from the remote.

Re:Awesome prototype! (2)

Jstlook (1193309) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703048)

It's true, he needed none of that. First off, he used new wheels, which have no appreciable wear. Second, he certainly wasn't precision driving, which is where it would be critical.

It's a prototype and it's downright awesome, but in terms of useful application, I'm just skeptical. The technology is similar to what you'll find in a Constant Variable Transmission (CVT), which has the added benefit of not having to contact an uneven surface. That means even wear throughout the lifetime of the apparatus, and better steering control *without* resorting to complicated computer feedback controls.

I guess sometimes I just retain an old viewpoint - good technology is stuff that will work as intended even when it's broken.

Re:Awesome prototype! (2)

jbengt (874751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36704606)

Sorry for being pedantic, but it's Continuously Variable Transmission.

Re:Awesome prototype! (3, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703014)

Actually, I think this would be good for robots as they could adjust their parameters to counteract the bumps and stuff really quickly. Maybe a drive-by-wire system on a car where the computer does all the hard stuff and you just point the car where you want it to go.

I could really see this being used in high speed robotics applications, imagine a ground-based sentry drone with this screaming down the road.

Re:Awesome prototype! (3, Interesting)

nukenerd (172703) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703264)

I don't get all this worry about accuracy and precision. Wheel/tyre wear and surface undulations only matter if you need to position this robot by dead reckoning. Dead reckoning is a bad idea anyway except in machine tool or laboratory applications.

Get real. This type of drive system would be for applications like vacuuming floors and moving stuff in warehouses. Its positioning would be determined by external feedback, like lines on the floor in a warehouse or ultrasonic echoes from walls. Other factors would be irrelevant to positioning.

As for the guys worrying about loss of contact and friction (someone raised "omni-wheel" designs, with wheels composed of little wheels arranged around a big wheel) what is the problem? In TFA' photo I see a three wheeler (one HOG wheel and two conventional idlers - though it could be developed to three HOG wheels only). How can a three-wheeler lose tyre contact ?

Re:Awesome prototype! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703342)

How can a three-wheeler lose tyre contact ?

It depends on the nut holding the wheel [thesun.co.uk] .

Jeremy Clarkson (1)

nukenerd (172703) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703400)

I loved the link! Couldn't have happened to a better person.

Cant wait for him to test drive the first HOG wheeled vehicle!

Re:Awesome prototype! (1)

serbanp (139486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36706298)

Wow! Who's the idiot who came up with the Reliant idea? Two wheels in front and one in the back would work (except for reverse driving, but there the speed is limited), but this? Are there assholes who really drive such an oversized tricycle on public streets?

Re:Awesome prototype! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36709856)

It was to exploit a legal loophole that if it has three wheels (and no reverse gear - the front driving wheel can actually rotate to push it backwards) it is, for tax and license purposes, a motorcycle.

Needs a hard floor. (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702670)

It's a cute idea. It assumes a single point of contact with the ground, and thus requires a flat, hard floor. This is limiting.

The various "omni-wheel" designs, with wheels composed of little wheels arranged around a big wheel, have a similar problem. The size of the little wheels, not the big one, determines the terrain-handling limits of the vehicle.

1980s robots tried to do everything by wheel odometry. Back then, most of the software was too dumb to plan moves given steering limitations, so omnidirectional drives were popular. Robots got a lot better when people stopped building robots with complex wheels and no suspension, and went to more ordinary wheels with off-road type suspensions.

Re:Needs a hard floor. (3, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702740)

Oh /., why must you be so negative? It doesn't have to be useful for every application in robotics to be extremely awesome.

It only requires one motor rotating at a constant velocity and two actuators; that's hardly a complex wheel. The extreme simplicity should make it useful in a number of applications and hobbyist designs. It will, however, probably leave little rubber smudge marks on your floor.

Re:Needs a hard floor. (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36707188)

I'm guessing this would be perfect for certain small robot applications, where traditional multi-wheel designs bump into production limitations. Also, I wouldn't be surprised to see robot vacuum cleaners sporting these for durability and multi-directionality reasons.

Gym Floor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36708632)

Oh how I would love to turn loose a flock of these on the school gym floor!

Yes, I am quite evil.

Re:Needs a hard floor. (3, Insightful)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702786)

It's a cute idea. It assumes a single point of contact with the ground, and thus requires a flat, hard floor. This is limiting.

You could add as many points of contact as you like as long as they are synchronized. Plus, I hear hill billies can slap chains on them for better traction in the mud.

Re:Needs a hard floor. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702848)

But against a non-hard surface, the surface would deform. At that point you have coriolis problems which would be hard on the drive. It'd still work, but it'd draw more power and wear the wheel down much faster, leaving rubbery marks on the floor.

Re:Needs a hard floor. (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36708350)

You do realize that this has very similar contact characteristics to motorcycle tires, right? And they still work, both on pavement and dirt.

Re:Needs a hard floor. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36702854)

i agree that the floor has to be hard to be really useful. but flat... no. i don't think so.

you could give every wheel individually a way to check its angle compared to the floor. i mean, sure, this is a small robot build here, but if you gonna make it bigger, some extra AI probably wont be hard to add somewhere.

Re:Needs a hard floor. (2)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703144)

What about the wheels on the vehicles in Snow Crash that where composed of many spokes sticking out that automatically adjusted to fit the terrain ahead? They where called Smart-wheels [wikipedia.org] and they provided good traction at high-speed. I am not sure if this is possible yet, but would this work any better, assuming the spokes could be strong enough to support the vehicle and its rider.

Active deforming wheels (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36705120)

assuming the spokes could be strong enough to support the vehicle and its rider.

Telescoping tubes work a lot better in cartoons than in real life.

I have seen one robot with a deforming wheel design [galileomobility.com] which transitions from a wheel to a flat tracked drive. Their slogan is "wheels when possible, tracks when necessary.") It was fast, agile [youtube.com] , showed up once at one trade show, and hasn't been seen much since. Nice mechanical engineering.

Re:Needs a hard floor. (1)

nukenerd (172703) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703238)

I fail to see why a single point of contact with the ground requires a flat hard floor. [Actually, the photo in TFA shows three]. You know, take a vertical line through the centre of this hemisphere and it is bound to intersect with any surface whatever, unless they are parallel.

Say this thing hits a curb (3, Informative)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703332)

Spinning top, you ever played with these toys? What happened to them when they hit a curb like a book or something? Right, they bounce off. Why? Because all of sudden it gains traction with what can be thought of as a wheel.

This ball wheel works as an infinite gear because by tilting it, the controller decides exactly how large a wheel (a ball is an infinite number of circles/wheels, each a bit smaller/larger then its neighbour, stacked on top of each other) contacts the floor. If the ball is spinning direction is parallel to the floor (if the ball doesn't deform) it wouldn't move because there is no forward motion. Tilt it and you are essentially making contact with an ever larger wheel. If the RPM remains the same, the larger the wheel the greater distance must be travelled. That it works is clear and predictable. It makes perfect sense.

But a bump on the road would suddenly cause a far greater wheel to make contact, greater wheel means greater speed and BAM, you got a difficult to control vehicle.

This thing doesn't just need a flat surface, it must also avoid any curbs. And what if it hits a crack in the surface, what if its gets grip on its on opposite sides of the spinning ball?

Doesn't mean this won't have its uses but they will be limited.

Re:Say this thing hits a curb (3, Interesting)

nukenerd (172703) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703670)

Yes, I understand the physics, but I was really countering some guys here who seem to think the wheel contact requires laboratory precision and are worrying about slight wear (needing computer compensation!!) and loss of contact (how???).

I agree this drive system is never going to be an off-roader. Also, many posters here seem to be floating the idea of it being used for cars - forget it. But as I have said in aother post here, the ideal use for this drive is fork-lift truck type applications, where tight manoevering is required, and, incidentally, the floor is flat.

But I don't think it will be as sensitive to undulations and kerbs as you and others seem to think. Most "bumps" in the floor/road are actually at quite small angles unless they are actual holes with rims. Also, a spinning top reacts violently (eg shoots across the room) when it hits the wall because its whole mass is spinning, so it has a lot of rotational momentum to be converted into linear momentum. However, this HOG vehicle has only a small proportion of its mass spinning, so contact with a kerb will probably just result in a nasty jolt and some rubber left behind. For warehouse use, just put guards around the wheels (as the prototype has).

You are worried about cracks?! I think we are at cross purposes about the scale of this thing. I assume that the prototype is a model, but even then I do not know its scale. For real world use (eg the warehouse vehicle) I envisage HOG wheels being hemisperes of about 400mm diameter. You would have to find an extremely run-down warehouse to have cracks in the floor that big!

Re:Say this thing hits a curb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36705636)

But as I have said in aother post here, the ideal use for this drive is fork-lift truck type applications, where tight manoevering is required, and, incidentally, the floor is flat.

This wheel is NOT ideal for fork-lifts. The big advantage of this is *rapid change of direction & torque* which is the exact opposite
of what is needed when moving loads around.

Re:Say this thing hits a curb (1)

nukenerd (172703) | more than 3 years ago | (#36710018)

For what use would you say it is ideal then?

Bear in mind that :-

1) These wheels will be inefficient in fuel consumption as there is always a rotational component in the contact patch, as opposed to the pure rolling in a conventional wheel, leading to some loss of energy that way through friction. Least so when fully tilted, but still real. So forget about routine use for distance transport.

2) For the same reason as (1), the tyre wear will significantly higher than in a conventional wheel. So again forget about routine use for distance transport.

3) The tyre will be non-pneumatic (or very expensive if someone manages to make a pneumatic one). So forget about normal road speed use.

4) The tilting gimble and actuators will lead to a high unsprung weight. So again forget about normal road speed use.

5) The rapidity with which you can change direction at road speeds is limited by the coefficient of friction between the tyre and the road, not by the steering mechanism. For cornering at road speeds you will not do any better than with conventional road wheels and tyres. (And on a rail it is limited by human tolerance if anyone is aboard.)

6) The rapidity with which you can change speed (eg accelerate) is limited by the tyre coefficient of friction again, or by the power of the engine, which ever tops out first.

OTH with this device a vehicle can change direction, into ANY direction, at low speed faster than conventional steerable wheels. A vehicle with HOG wheels all round could go along an aisle (little wider than itself) in a warehouse and then shift sideways into a side-aisle with no fuss. Drop a load and move off at a different angle again. Sounds ideal to me for a fork-lift, or for a straddle carrier in a container port.

When I first read this /. story I was going to criticise this device. Also, these HOG wheels are not necessarily tied to robotics. Anyway, I do not think it has a future. But here I am defending it - because most guys here seem to be either criticising it for the wrong reasons or praising it for the wrong reasons!

Re:Say this thing hits a curb (1)

Kevin Fishburne (1296859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36706576)

If radar or some other surface-mapping technique was added to detect severe surface irregularities, the drive wheel could be lifted away from the surface at the moment the irregularity was traversed. The drive wheel could be placed in the center of the vehicle and be surrounded by "support wheels" for stability. There could also be two drive wheels, one smooth for tarmac and one studded/spiked for off-road.

Re:Needs a hard floor. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703412)

If the contact strip is of non-zero width, as it must be to avoid infinite shear forces, then you've got a difference in radius (perpendicular to the axis) from one side to the other. This will a) cause torque steer and b) scrubbing.

Now the rougher the surface, the wider the contract strip will potentially be; you could even have a case where a peak next to a hole could cause it to be touching on opposite sides. It'd bounce all over the place.

Re:Needs a hard floor. (3, Funny)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703322)

It's a cute idea. It assumes a single point of contact with the ground, and thus requires a flat, hard floor. This is limiting.

Fortunately, there's a solution [thepavedearth.com] : one world, one people, one slab of asphalt!

Re:Needs a hard floor. (4, Interesting)

timothyb89 (1259272) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703536)

It's a cute idea. It assumes a single point of contact with the ground, and thus requires a flat, hard floor. This is limiting.

I've worked pretty extensively with mechanum wheels - essentially omniwheels with the smaller wheels at a 45 degree angle to the main wheel. Arranging four of them provides the same degrees of freedom as the example shown with two of these HOG wheels. Mechanum wheels work well and move quite fast, and I've yet to see a surface where they don't work - but they're costly, heavy, and wear quickly, not to mention the pretty enormous power requirements. Because of these limitations, for hobbyist robotics, they're simply not practical.

For many of the smaller projects I've done, traditional drive systems were slow and not nearly as useful as an omnidirectional (3 DOF) system - and without the ability to easily use something like omniwheels or mechanum wheels due to various constraints, HOG wheels would be a godsend. They provide most of the benefits of the traditional omnidirectional drive systems with very few hitches - and you'd be surprised how often the hard and flat surface requirement isn't an issue (or, in many cases, applies to traditional drive systems as well).

Re:Needs a hard floor. (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#36705680)

I agree that this implementation requires a flat, hard floor but if you use your imagination just a little bit ... you could use a larger hemisphere and even put knobby tread on it to make an ATV.

The video even shows one made using two hemispheres for greater maneuverability and traction.

Re:Needs a hard floor. (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36705718)

I don't think your dumping on the idea, just pointing out some of its limitations. On that note, I would like to point out another. I would think the weight of the robot would determine the usefulness of this type of drive. If limited to light weight robots, however, it would do fine.

Not Novel (3, Informative)

mentil (1748130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702680)

The video embedded in TFA contains the engineer who created this saying that it was invented about 100 years ago, but nothing came of it and the tech was forgotten. He did rediscover it independently, however.

Re:Not Novel (4, Funny)

robot_love (1089921) | more than 3 years ago | (#36704218)

Wait, so you're telling me he just re-invented the wheel?

Re:Not Novel (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36705736)

One of them. There are still 3 left for the rest of us.

Do not want (0, Offtopic)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702702)

I haven't wanted anything to do with them since they signed that deal with Microsoft. They're a bunch of fucking sellouts, and I don't want anything to do with them or Suse. I damn sure don't care if they've come up with some crazy new drive technology.

Re:Do not want (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702858)

You might want to check your meds and then re-read the article. The word "Novel" is here used to mean "new". It has no relation to the company "Novell", which went bankrupt a few years after partnering with Microsoft and sold themselves to a private company - Attachmate sans their patents that went to... an IP consortium Microsoft had a controlling interest in. NVM. Maybe it's me that needs to check my meds.

Re:Do not want (0)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702900)

Yeah, I think the current dosage might be suppressing your sense of humour a bit. Course, the mods don't seem to be getting it, either.

If the audience thinks it's not funny (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702910)

Then it's not funny.

Re:Do not want (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703514)

i haven't had points since my first kid was born. if i had points, i'd mod you up.

i very nearly whooshed, then i lol'd.

great (1)

samdaniyal (2357558) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702752)

the innovation by the student is great and shows the university has the talent to polish and show to the world.

Re:great (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703148)

the innovation by the student is great and shows the university has the talent to polish and show to the world.

the "university" did nothing. stop trying to displace this person's achievement and give it to an institution. it's like saying large corporations do most of the innovation. 1. it's not true. 2. legal entities that don't have sentient thought don't do anything in and of themselves.

Re:great (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703508)

Maybe they put him in a room with lots of motors and remote control electronics so he could fiddle around...

iRobot cars? (3, Interesting)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702774)

So, the funky cars they used in the iRobot movie with Will Smith, this re-invention now makes them possible? I am curious to know how well it works on rougher surfaces, like potholes, sand, or gravel.

Re:iRobot cars? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703140)

In the movie they used a rubber ball and multiple contact "wheels" to spin it in various directions as needed (one pr wanted axis of rotation at least). Quite possible right now but likely need a whole lot more computing power then what this robot has available.

Re:iRobot cars? (1)

dlb (17444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36707734)

Are referring to the online movie about the Roomba [youtube.com] vacuum cleaning robot?

Or maybe you mean the theatrical movie called I, Robot [imdb.com]

Re:iRobot cars? (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36708136)

Does Will Smith sell Roombas? What do you think I'm talking about? ;P

Tachikoma's method of movement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36702778)

The Tachikomas must use this method when they fold their footpads up for when they travel on the road.

That means one step closer to having real Tachikomas, (Pun somewhat intended).

For those not familiar with Ghost in the Shell: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachikoma

Re:Tachikoma's method of movement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36702860)

That was the first thing I thought of too.

At the size in the video, it's pretty neat, the question is can it scale up, and from a practicality sense can it be used in a car or other land-yacht to improve fuel performance or maneuverability. Those auto-parking cars... would be a lot less complicated if they could simply parallel park without having to back in to the space.

But still, at the small scale it looks promising.

Cute toy (3, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702874)

It seems interesting but I have a few concerns (some have been stated in other posts but I would like to get them in one place).
1. Uneven surfaces; With such a small surface contact it is easy to lose traction.
2. Control. It seems that one can change direction at will but it seems difficult to do it accurately and more difficult to stop the device.
3. Soft surfaces; if the hemisphere is going at a constant speed would it dig into a sift surface when stopped? Sure you can stop the motor but that means you would have the same acceleration characteristics of a conventional wheel.

I would have liked to see it on bare concrete doing a slalom and stopping at a designated point.

Re:Cute toy (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703150)

issue 2 likely comes from vehicle weight vs engine torque.

Re:Cute toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36704134)

Regarding point #2. The video states that there is no micro processor intervention in his little robot. He is controlling it by remote control with thumb joysticks.

Re:Cute toy (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 3 years ago | (#36705350)

4. Whenever it changes direction, both when switching turn direction and particularly when it stops or reverses, it does so by suddenly switching the wheel direction and accelerating the other way. Which means if this was scaled to any significant side, it would be chewing through 'tires' at a ridiculous rate as well as leaving burnt rubber skid marks all over the place. Imagine, if you will, what would happen to your tires if you were in a full size car going 55mph and the only way to slow down was to suddenly switch into reverse and rev the engine in the opposite direction.

Re:Cute toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36708296)

control isn't too much of a concern as the design can cater for it
what this guy has built is a bit crude and isn't designed 'for people'
instead add another layer of separation between controls and steering
it's the equivalent of only allowing +/- 90 degree turning of the steering wheel
then complaining that the turning controls are too 'jerky' or 'inaccurate'
instead this system needs something similar instead of raw steering controls
the extra layer would adjust the rate of angle change from seconds to minutes to degrees
the extra later would also account for vehicle speed much like modern cars do
that is, for safety the steering gets "duller" the faster the vehicle is going

as for soft surfaces, you wouldn't use this system 'off-road' as it would be a 'digger'
this is irrespective of being at a stop or or in motion

Not for cars (1)

ThreePhones (1878176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702894)

Another cool drive mechanism coming soon to your local robotics competition, alongside dozens of other ways [google.com] I would never have dreamed to make a robot haul across the competition floor. You definitely won't be seeing on it a car because it's too inefficient, wears quickly and can't handle rough roads.

Re:Not for cars (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703034)

It doesn't have to be slick, nor a hemisphere, really. It would work with a spinning tractor wheel too, or a spinning padwheel for boats. Tilt it, lower it, and off you go.
You can even use a spinning steel cogwheel if you don't care about damaging the surface you drive on.

The problem with using it for human transport is that quite a few humans have an aversion to fast acceleration. (These accelerophobes are usually right in front of me at traffic lights.)

Terrifying. (1)

Ross C. Brackett (5878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36702924)

Looking forward to when this is the last thing that I see before the whirring blades eviscerate me.

Re:Terrifying. (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703182)

Well, give Skynet some credit. Spinning blades are just as effective, and loads cheaper, than bullets or lasers.

Tom Servo has been waiting for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36702966)

The first set go to Tom Servo, I hope.

Re:Tom Servo has been waiting for this... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703504)

Well, if they just covered that grate in the floor, Mike wouldn't have to carry him in.

Nice theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36702982)

This system works gread on a perfectly flat surface, with no loose bits. And especially no loose bits of gravel. Any non-flatness WILL introduce contact with an non-intended part of this ball, with the random movements this will create.

Also note that the tilt itself will create stresses on the structure at a 90 degree angle along the axis of the ball. (go read up on gyroscopes if you doubt that)

1988 Toyota Olympic Ideas winner (5, Informative)

poodlediagram (1944244) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703002)

This has already been turned into a personal vehicle some years ago. It won the 1988 Toyota Olympic Ideas competition and ran on perpetually spinning Chinese woks. The best link I can find is

http://books.google.com/books?id=1M3e82yGmZMC&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27#v=onepage&q&f=false [google.com]

Perhaps someone can find a better picture or video.

Re:1988 Toyota Olympic Ideas winner (1)

Goboxer (1821502) | more than 3 years ago | (#36704768)

Don't you know that if something is not popular or memorable people just claim to invent it, discovered it, or gave birth to it. This is exacerbated by the media not doing any kind of followup. This will probably be on the front page of the major tech blogs, or possibly my local news, with the "reporter" regurgitating the information they can skim from a single source. So I guess the rest of us have to act surprised when something is "invented" every few years.

Sorry for ranting. It is a neat device and kudos to the person for implementing it. It must have taken some decent skill to get it to work properly.

Re:1988 Toyota Olympic Ideas winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36704838)

and if you actually watched the video you'd know the guy didn't make any of those claims.

Re:1988 Toyota Olympic Ideas winner (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36705744)

in the video, the guy actually says, "i thought i invented this but then i found out that this tech is >100 yrs old".

Re:1988 Toyota Olympic Ideas winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36707458)

Speaking as someone who has made a living as an inventor, it's really easy to invent something from first principles that someone else has already invented. I'm not sure how many times I've done it, but it's probably in the double digits by now. If you look at the video, you'll find that this guy points out that the idea has come up several times in the last hundred years, and that he was disappointed to find out that he wasn't the first.

Not novel :) (1)

irp (260932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703004)

It is not a novel idea, he mentions it himself at 1:07: an almost 100 year old idea that everybody has forgotten :-)

Quite cool idea though. Looking back at those first "automobile like" designs; cars with legs, monowheels etc. it is not surprising - they were good at thinking outside the "4 wheels on a box" box back then. Probably because the "car" idea was not established yet.

Interesting idea, but... (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703028)

1. Why keep the motor running at constant rpm? Sure, those peelouts are fun but they cause tire wear and won't work too well on loose surfaces. And in the video, the wheel bounces off the ground when going from forward to reverse. That depends on the power-to-weight ratio and won't be so much of a problem in production vehicles, though.

2. The video doesn't show how the system behaves at low speeds (ie with the wheel at an angle approaching 90 degrees). I suspect that at those angles, the direction of the drive force will start varying because even small imperfections in the floor will change the position where the wheel makes contact with the floor, so your course becomes erratic.

nike air max shoes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703064)

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gimbaledl ??? (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703104)

WTF is a "gimbaledl"?

Re:gimbaledl ??? (4, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703206)

A gimbaledl is a pivotedled supportedl that allows the rotationedl of an objectedl about a single axisedl. Isn't that obviousedl? :-)

Re:gimbaledl ??? (1)

Guignol (159087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36704188)

LOLDL : This is mostedl definitedeliedl the bestedl answer that couldedl have been givendl :)

Re:gimbaledl ??? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703556)

It's bait for the spelling nazis that have nothing to contribute to the discussion otherwise. If it hadn't been there, you wouldn't have had a reason to post. Slashdot is taking care of you. Dangerously close to socialism, but that's how we roll these days.

Re:gimbaledl ??? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36704202)

It's one of Elrond's cousins, keeper of the thrice blessed saucepan of IkkinikÃnok.

Scuffmarks? (1)

GrantRobertson (973370) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703248)

Oh, janitors all over the world are gonna hate this guy. A spinning rubber hemisphere touching the freshly waxed floor all over the place will not only wreak havoc with the floor wax but may eventually damage the tile.

Re:Scuffmarks? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703472)

just make the thing of wax and they'll wax as they go.the hemisphere would better have a free floating ball at zero point though, otherwise there's a reason why nobody built the speeder drawn in '38.

Re:Scuffmarks? (2)

cboirum (2358822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36704532)

LOL you have no idea! Luckily I made good friends with the janitor who works the hall outside the robotics lab. The new prototype uses a very smooth polyurethane wheel just for this reason. It really decreases the acceleration but doesn't mar up the floor as much. It also makes the effect of small bumps and/or cracks in the ground surface almost non-existent.

Re:Scuffmarks? (1)

GrantRobertson (973370) | more than 3 years ago | (#36705028)

It's not often that the people a Slashdot post is about actually respond. Cool!

You know, you could take a little bit of the other commenter's idea and replace the rubber with a hemispherical, compressed cloth, buffing pad. Then impregnate it with wax and away you go. In the end, one commercial implementation of this could be a robotic floor buffer. It could propel itself around the floor in the same way janitors already propel buffers around. The pad is flat but they just lean it a little in one direction or another. the side with the most weight on it is the side that has the most effect on movement. It is similar, but not quite the same as your device in that all of the pad surface is always in contact with the floor. But the mechanism is the same. The gimbal would just not have to tilt as far to achieve motion.

But then you would be pissing off janitors in another way: by putting them out of work.

This reminds me of a... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36703406)

Voith schneider propeller. Much like the spinning rubber hemisphere in this robot the propeller can spin up to speed with the vehicle stationary and quickly move the vehicle in any direction by rotating a series of underwater hydrofoils:
http://www.voithturbo.de/de-pua-marine-vspropeller-demprogramm.php

Disappointing. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703942)

I visualized a spinning black hemisphere scuttling about by tilting itself. From the article I learn that it's just a drive wheel.

Waiting to input from Dyson (1)

Grand Facade (35180) | more than 3 years ago | (#36704292)

James or Freeman

Combat Bot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36706360)

This guy made an awesome battle bot using the principle. The spinning weapon and "wheel" are on the same axle. Independent raising/lowering the rear wheels does steering. Bot only uses one motor for weapon and drive. Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0_tARpOo6g&NR=1

Re:Combat Bot (1)

cboirum (2358822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36706706)

This guy made an awesome battle bot using the principle. The spinning weapon and "wheel" are on the same axle. Independent raising/lowering the rear wheels does steering. Bot only uses one motor for weapon and drive. Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0_tARpOo6g&NR=1 [youtube.com]

Believe it or not, I had been working on the HOG wheel for months when I met this guy last year - Geen at Mecha Mayhem in Chicago. I was blown away that we both came up with this concept using totally different approaches. He helped me put together the first HOG wheel prototype the same day. His combat bot One Fierce Dragonfly is incredibly powerful since it uses two lightweight servo motors to actuate the wheels and one giant weapon motor to spin the blade and to drive whith - really fun to watch it destroy stuff.

Daleks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36706864)

You fools! Stop before it's too late!

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_7GQtsXRLBzM/TA4xbsLcUpI/AAAAAAAACdI/g017Qa36Hjw/s1600/DALEK.jpg

Gah! And the captcha was 'warfare'. Do you need MORE proof?

Re:Daleks! (1)

sunspot42 (455706) | more than 3 years ago | (#36707166)

I was just about to say!

"Exterminate!!"

Good news is, if you run up a flight of stairs they're screwed.

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