Robots On Wheels… and what a wheel

And what a wheel! The inventive drive system enables a small robot to spin and turn on a dime.

Ever since those four horsemen, our culture has long been concerned with the locomotion of the apocalypse. IEEE Spectrum has spotted the more likely means of conveyance that will bring us the End of Days, however: a “singularity drive system” system that makes a robot whip around a room like a mouse on speed.

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/helloworld/26995/?nlid=nldly&nld=2011-07-15 wheel system is the brainchild of a surely well-meaning student at Bradley University, in Peoria, Illinois, named Curtis Boirum. He recently showed it off at RoboGames 2011. Here’s how the system works: the wheel is really half of a rubber ball that spins on its axis extremely quickly. By tilting the hemisphere ever so slightly, you can change the wheel’s direction, causing it to turn on a dime, if you want. You can see some of the acrobatics in the video here–from back when its creator called it a “hemispherical gimbaled wheel drive system” (he since changed the name to something much more suitably apocalyptic sounding).

read more and see video

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