Omni Wheel

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Omni wheels (or poly wheels) are wheels with small discs around the circumference which are perpendicular to the rolling direction. The effect is that the wheel will roll with full force, but will also slide laterally with great ease. These wheels are often employed in holonomic drive systems (those with ability to move in all direction and rotate independently). Although omniwheels are capable of movement in many directions, they are not true omni-directional wheels, a classification reserved for spherical wheels such as ball transfer units.

A platform employing three omni wheels in a triangular configuration is generally called Kiwi Drive. The Killough platform is similar; so named after Stephen Killough’s work with omnidirectional platforms at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. They are often used in small robots. In leagues such as Robocup, many robots use these wheels to have the ability to move in all directions. Omniwheels combined with conventional wheels provide interesting performance properties, such as on a six wheel vehicle employing two conventional wheels on a center axle and four omniwheels on front and rear axles.

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