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Robot Moving in Four Directions Without Twisting Could Reinvent the Wheel

Here’s one case when claiming somebody is reinventing the wheel actually applies. Sure, it’s not some odd technology or a different type of material that makes it special, it’s just a different approach if you wish.
Robot Moving in Four Directions Without Twisting Could Reinvent the Wheel 1 photo
It may have a geeky name, but the 4WD Mecanum Wheel Robot Kit is actually an excellent way to assure your girlfriend she will have no problem parallel parking in the future. And it’s not because self-driving cars will take care about the issue, mind you. After all, if you have the resources, you can always buy a premium car and just add the self-parking option now.

The problem with this solution, however, relates to the vehicle’s speed. Parking itself is possible just like in the case of autonomous cars, but what about the pace? Some may argue it takes too long for the autonomous parking procedure to happen. Well, automotive manufacturers should consider this robot as a great example for the future’s tires.

The thing you can see in action below is a four-wheel-drive mobile platform based on Mecanum wheels. It contains two left Mecanum wheels as well as two right ones. The fact that each tire is connected to the motor separately and controlled independently allows for excellent maneuverability.

Depending on each wheel’s direction and speed, the mobile platform can move forward, backward, sideways and any other desired direction, or spin. Now, you may be wondering why the word "kit" is used. It so happens that these robots are available for purchase online for a mere $200.

For the geeks among you who want to know more of the principle it’s using, it should be noted that the key relates to the Mecanum wheel. It is a conventional wheel with a series of rollers attached to its circumference. According to Seeed Studio, these rollers each have an axis of rotation at 45 degrees to the plane of the wheel and at 45 degrees to a line through the center of the roller parallel to the axis of rotation of the wheel. Phew, that was a mouthful! 


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