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A Method to Inhibit Roller Action on Mecanum Wheel

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000246287D
Publication Date: 2016-May-24
Document File: 2 page(s) / 25K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method to inhibit roller action on mecanum wheel. The method stops, or reduces, rotation of the rollers relative to the main wheel, while allowing the main wheel to continue to rotate.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 51% of the total text.

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A Method to Inhibit Roller Action on Mecanum Wheel

Mecanum wheels are distinguished by the rollers set at an angle (almost always at 45 degrees) around the circumference of the main wheel. The rollers rotate freely with respect to the main wheel. The advantage is that by driving each wheel independently, the vehicle can be made to move (translate) in any direction, rotate, or translate and rotate simultaneously. But, they have a disadvantage when interacting with other robots.

    A mecanum-wheeled robot is easily pushed around by a robot with more conventional wheels or treads. If the rollers are made to not roll in such circumstances, the mecanum wheel behaves more like a conventional wheel, and the robot is less susceptible to external forces. Disclosed is a method to stop, or reduce, rotation of the rollers relative to the main wheel, while allowing the main wheel to continue to rotate.

    In accordance with the method, a second wheel with a vertical axis and aligned near ground level is used with the mecanum wheel. The relative orientation of the two wheels is like that of bevel gears. The second wheel is made to press against the mecanum wheel, so that relative motion between the rollers and the body of the mecanum wheel is prevented. But by allowing the pressing wheel to rotate freely, turning of the mecanum wheel itself is not inhibited. While pressing is engaged, the mecanum wheel is effectively transformed into an ordinary wheel.

    In accordance with the method the rollers are only partially stopped, this might be made adjustable depending on how hard the pressing wheel pressed. So, the transformation between a mecanum and regular wheel could be a continuum rather than all or nothing. This aspect would make failure less catastrophic: when forced, the rollers could slip against the pressing wheel rather than, for example, breaking a pin that is holding them fixed.

    The method disclosed herein might give rotational energy efficiency, resulting from superior power transmission through a solid wheel as compared with the mecanum design. The impeded mecanum's greater rotational energy efficiency relative to a mecanum with unimpeded rollers is cited in alternate designs that stop all the rollers at once by means of mechanisms built into the wheel itself. There would be some energy loss due to the spinning of the vertical-axis wheel, but since that wheel is intended to freely rotate, such losses are minimal and likely less than the losses due to the odd mechanisms of the alternate solutions.

    The intent of this mechanism is to provide means to stop a mecanum wheel's rollers from turning, while continuing to allow the wheel as a whole free rotation. This has the effect of making the wheel into a solid wheel rather than one with rollers around the circumference. The actual need is to prevent the roller...