Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Self-balancing omnidirectional motorcycle spins, slides and glides

We are looking at a practical device able to operate in multiple directions.  uderstand everything else is direction constrained hugely.  so this is important as obviously, prototyping is now a piece of cake.

a whole bunch of novel design concepts are about to be invented now.  that is good.  even the Sedgeway was hardly novel as it existed in concept long before it was built.

even this found its way into long expired patents.  The real take home is just how easy it was to now fabricate.  Wow!

Video: Self-balancing omnidirectional motorcycle spins, slides and glides

April 22, 2024

James Bruton's omnidirectional, self-balancing "Screw Bike"

One of the most bizarre vehicles we've ever seen in motion. This jaw-dropping electric contraption rolls on four custom-made omnidirectional wheels, mounted sideways so it can self-balance like a Segway and move in any direction. Completely bonkers.

British YouTuber James Bruton has plenty of experience with self-balancing technology and omnidirectional wheels, having already built a self-balancing bicycle using a sideways-mounted omni-wheel, as well as a heap of self-stabilizing robot projects.

Indeed, this isn't even his first crack at an omnidirectional motorcycle, having released a video some seven months ago showing how he'd put a large Omni-Wheel at either end of a frame and successfully built a self-balancing electric moto. Well, the self-balancing part was successful, and he was able to turn it around and move side to side without issue, but it wasn't capable of moving forward or backward.

And thus, the Screw Bike. For this latest iteration, Bruton moved from Omni Wheels to Mecanum-styled wheels – the difference being that the Omnis have their rollers mounted sideways, where a Mecanum wheel places them at diagonal angles.

One of the strangest motorcycle projects we've seen
James Bruton

While the rollers are free-spinning, the wheels themselves are driven. And a vehicle with four Mecanum wheels can, by controlling the speed and direction of these four wheels, move in any direction, or spin merrily on the spot.

Bruton built his own 360-mm (14.2-inch) diameter Mecanum wheels for the Screw Bike, 3D-printing many of the components – there was nothing this size available off the shelf, and even if he was willing to use something a full third smaller, the options were hideously expensive.

He mounted these four wheels sideways, since their primary job most of the time is to quickly self-balance the chassis. Each is driven by a toothed rubber belt, connected to an electric motor and thus capable of driving forward or backward as needs be.

A set of rigid handlebars, a bench seat and a charmingly dorky headlight later, the Screw Bike was up and running. Once turned on, it balances patiently in place, and with a rider on board it does much the same thing. Like a Segway, you can lean it left or right to initiate motion in either direction.

Forward, backward, sideways, spinning, diagonal... Anything's possible with this arrangement
James Bruton

A twist throttle allows the bike to be driven forward, without cancelling out its self-balancing ability. A switch on the bars lets you put it in reverse and go backwards as desired, and a separate set of controls allow the rider to spin the bike in place.

"This feels amazing," said Bruton on his first indoor test ride, somehow managing not to crash into anything in his kitchen. He then takes it for a spin in a car park, clearly enjoying this unique machine's very odd capabilities as he spins and glides in all directions.

It doesn't look particularly fast – certainly not when it's moving forward or backward. It's got nothing in the way of suspension, and it'd clearly be a long shot to call this a practical design for mass manufacture. It does, however, look like a bunch of fun and a heck of an achievement for a backyard builder.

Bruton has open-sourced the CAD designs and code for the bike, so the intrepid can build their own Screw Bikes at will. Check it out in the video below!

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