Can a triangle of tank tracks outperform omni wheels?
March sixteenth, 2022—
Omni wheels are implausible as a result of they let a automobile drive ahead, backward, left, proper, and rotate — all with out a steering mechanism. There are solely two catches: all 4 omni wheels should be pushed and omni wheels don’t deal with tough terrain or obstacles properly. Tank tracks are excellent for tough terrain, so James Bruton thought to mix the 2 ideas. To check this concept, he constructed an Arduino-controlled robotic with a triangle of tank tracks.
This robotic has three tank tracks, every of which is pushed by a easy geared DC motor. Burton organized these in a triangle formation, so every observe is at a 60 diploma angle to the opposite two tracks. Usually, an association like this might be a catastrophe, because it couldn’t drive in any path with out dragging at the least one of many tracks. However Bruton lined the entire tracks with small wheels, which have axes of rotation perpendicular to the observe motor axles. These wheels rotate freely, so the automobile can transfer with out resistance — even when that motion is perpendicular to one of many tracks.
Motion requires the coordination of all three observe motors to be able to vector the motor velocity. Bruton used an Arduino Mega 2560 board for the job, as a result of it has loads of pins accessible to regulate the motor drivers through PWM. It additionally had pins to spare for an SPI connection to an nRF24L01 radio transceiver, which receives instructions from Bruton’s common function robotic distant management.
The robotic drove fairly properly on easy carpet and is ready to maneuver in a fashion just like what you’d see with normal omni wheels. Sadly, it wasn’t capable of deal with obstacles. The tracks have been too easy to get traction on an impediment and establishing them from a grippy materials would have stored them from sliding when essential. Whereas the robotic didn’t accomplish Bruton’s purpose, it’s nonetheless fascinating to see in motion and is a considerate exploration of different drive varieties.