Omni wheels normally contain a number of rollers arranged on their circumference, allowing them to slide left and right and perform various tricks when combined with others. The rollers on UCLA researchers Junjie Shen and Dennis Hong’s OmBURo, however, are quite different in that they are actually powered, enabling a single wheel to accomplish some impressive feats on its own.
These powered rollers give OmBURo the ability to move in both longitudinal and lateral directions simultaneously, balancing as a dual-axis wheeled inverted pendulum.
Control is accomplished via an Arduino Mega along with an IMU and encoders for its two servo motors —one tasked with driving the wheel backwards and forwards, the second for actuating the rollers laterally via helical gears and a flexible shaft.
A mobility mechanism for robots to be used in tight spaces shared with people requires it to have a small footprint, to move omnidirectionally, as well as to be highly maneuverable. However, currently there exist few such mobility mechanisms that satisfy all these conditions well. Here we introduce Omnidirectional Balancing Unicycle Robot (OmBURo), a novel unicycle robot with active omnidirectional wheel. The effect is that the unicycle robot can drive in both longitudinal and lateral directions simultaneously. Thus, it can dynamically balance itself based on the principle of dual-axis wheeled inverted pendulum. This letter discloses the early development of this novel unicycle robot involving the overall design, modeling, and control, as well as presents some preliminary results including station keeping and path following. With its very compact structure and agile mobility, it might be the ideal locomotion mechanism for robots to be used in human environments in the future.
If your robotic vehicle will only work on smooth surfaces, the choice of a wheel is obvious. For more rugged bots, the same applies with knobby wheels. For those that need to operate in both environments, however, the Adaptive Field Robot presents a new solution in the form of wheels that actually change dynamically depending on the terrain.
This Arduino-powered robot is able to transform its two driving wheels from a nearly circular shape into a claw-like arrangement using secondary motors that rotate along with the wheel assembly.
When the bot detects an obstacle in its path via an ultrasonic sensor, the motors springs into action, activating a rack-and-pinion system that expands the two halves of the wheel into “claw mode.”
Be sure to check out this innovative robot in the video below, including some trial-and-error during the development process.
Robot-sumo bouts can be a great way to pit your automation skills against others. Participating normally means a lot of hard work to get your bot functioning properly, and likely a fair amount of travel to meet your opponents. SurrogateTV, however, has a new alternative with their SumoBots Battle Royale game that allows you to fight actual robots over the Internet.
Their customized “pushers” from JSumo are made out of steel sheets, powered by an Arduino, a motor shield and a lithium-ion battery — all housed inside a 3D-printed enclosure — and tracked by a computer vision system. Four motors are used for movement and a servo on the top flips them right side up as needed.
The ring isn’t just a traditional circle either, but an area that is always dynamically changing. SurrogateTV decided on an interactive floor that drops as the game goes on, voted upon by the chat/viewers. A quick overview of the build process and how it works can be seen in the video below.
YouTuber MrTeslonian was asked if he could create an automatic fishing pole for someone with a serious disability. While this would seem like a daunting task, he was able to build one using a spring-loaded mechanism, a number of motors, and an Arduino board.
His portable device takes commands over WiFi, allowing control from a smartphone or computer. When it receives the signal, the pole is automatically pulled back and tension is added to a large spring via a winch. This tension is then released with a servo-actuated system, and a small gearmotor reels the bait back in… hopefully with a fish attached!
If you’d like to build your own vaguely humanoid robot, but don’t care about it getting around, then look no farther than Aster.
The 3D-printed bot is controlled by an Arduino Uno, with a servo shield to actuate its 16 servo motors. This enables it to move its arms quite dramatically as seen in the video below, along with its head. The legs also appear to be capable of movement, though not meant to walk, and is supported with a column in the middle of its structure.
Aster’s head display is made out of an old smartphone, and in the demo it shows its eyes as green geometric objects, an animated sketch, and then, somewhat shockingly, as different humans. Print files for the project are available here and the design is actually based on the more expensive Poppy Humanoid.
The droid scoots around on what appears to be one large wheel, which conceals the Arduino boards as well as other electronics, batteries, and mechanical components. Denton’s wheel design is a bit more complicated mechanically than it first appears, as its split into a center section, with thin drive wheels on the side that enable differential steering.
On top, a cone-shaped head provides sounds and movement, giving the little RC D-O a ton of personality. The droid isn’t quite finished as of the video below, but given how well it works there, the end product should be amazing!