Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NXT Holonomic Drive Idea

Holonomic drive systems are difficult to build with LEGO. I've never successfully built one myself, but I started to try once and I see it as something that will be increasingly easy to do in the future. You can already see more three-sided elements showing up in current sets that will make this an easier thing to do. I'm hoping that someone with more time to work on this will take it up and be able to use my attempt as a starting point. If you do, let me know and I'll let my readers know.

From my one given-up-on attempt, here's my contribution to this:
The idea: use 3 of these modules (of which I only ever built this one - I doubt that this exact design would actually be able to hold the weight of a frame and a battery box to power it), and only power the ones you need to go a particular direction. The ball will function as an unpowered caster until a motor is turned on in either direction. When the motor turns on, the geared bar swings down and the wheel in the middle will power the ball. This is an extreme take on the poor man's directional transmission concept, and I suspect that it won't work so well once there's more weight on it - but it's an idea. Omni wheels would probably be harder to build but function more smoothly. Personally, I really like the idea of a wheel that can be powered selectively, but I think it would need to be much sturdier and more firmly powered than this.

More photos are on flickr (I finally went pro and started cleaning up my account, which is how I remembered I never did blog these photos) at

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