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Say Hi to the HOG Wheel Drive

That’s Hemispherical Omnidirectional Gimbaled wheel. As an idea it’s at least as old as 1938, but it’s lately been re-discovered by Curtis Boirum, an MS Mechanical Engineering student at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. The wheel is essentially a rubber hemispherical top spinning at very high speed and mounted on a gimbal. When the spinning axis is straight up, the wheel exerts negligible torque; but tilting it even slightly allows rapid torque development in any plane direction. The remarkably nimble vehicle in the video is essentially a trike with two free-spinning conventional wheels and one HOG wheel. Look at it go! Can’t wait to see what hobby roboticists, inventors, and entrepreneurs do with this. [via Hack a Day]

2 thoughts on “Say Hi to the HOG Wheel Drive

  1. This is super cool. I just have one question; can this be applied to some sort of large flywheel system? if you had an efficient enough rotation with minimal losses to the flywheel, you would only use energy when it’s applied to the friction, and then only enough to go… Otherwise it seems like you lose a lot of energy (alot of energy :) hehe) to just keeping the thing spinning. anything other than full throttle is a waste of that motor speed.

    so, could you charge up the flywheel with a motor, use the motor to keep the speed up, and only apply the wheel as needed? would that be more efficient than only applying power to normal wheels as needed?

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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