pic: 2003 TechnoKat Ball Drive : Patent Pending



Here is another picture of the Ball Drive robot. This robot is currently our backup drivebase that allows us to be defensive on the field instead of on the ramp.

3 Likes

I like it! So how does it work?

-_-! 0_o!

Very cool. I was quite shocked to see this because I had a very similar concept last summer, but I never followed through with it.

Those are inflatable balls, right? How reliable is the steering?

It’d be cool to watch that thing run in person.

Greg

Well yet again I am completely wowed by the technoKAts and there out side the box( or should I say ball) thinking, Every year the TechnoKats come up with ingenious designs, that always seem to have some sort of hidden thing about them. I cant wait to see you guys in action, Great Job:D

Good luck to All
The Wheelman

I can’t believe someone actually made a ball-drive system! I have been pulling that idea out for a while, but we always thought it was too complex and not useful enough. It’s a really cool concept, though. Is this just a test, or an actual robot feature?

The “Ball Drive” is totally operational and is totally legal by FIRST guidelines. Just have to see in person how it operates. :yikes:

I thought about such a drive before… I’m curious as to how you adressed a few issues…

Are the balls air-filled or solid rubber? If they are air-filled, how thick is the skin?

I’d imagine the drivetrain is optimized with speed in mind rather than torque. How much torque can you exert on the surface of the ball before it slips?

OK, here is the scoop:

Mark Koors, TechnoKat - Delphi engineer, thought of the idea. We worked together in the fall to come up with a design for this. The team made a prototype during the late fall and had a rough proto working by the time of kickoff (it had bigger balls and only casters to keep it balanced).

Then, kickoff came and we had to decide what to build as a team: a strong track drive that can push really hard, or a quick and agile ball drive that had very limited pushing abilities.

We had a big disagreement. The team was split between the two drive bases, and we could not just pick one.

What we did decide was to make the track drive base our primary design that 95% of the team would focus on. The students and engineers worked together on the track drive base, making gearboxes, pulleys, spare parts, etc. At the same time, one engineer (Mark) worked on the ball drive base with some help from students and other engineers only if there was nothing to do on the track drive.

In the end, the ball drive robot was wired and programmed by the students, only after they got done with the track drive robot.

This was not easy to do… and we may not even get to use the ball drive robot. Unfortuneately (for many reasons) the two drive bases are not modular. Our original plan was to have a “control box” that could be switched between the two bases (similar to 190’s control box in 2001). But, that did not work too well due to size, time, weight and money constraints.

So, we can switch between the two robots… but it would take alot of time. I am estimating about 2-4 hours of work to switch over the gearboxes (and re-allocate the CIM motor to another gearbox), move over the electronics (controller, fuse panels, RF transmitter, and victors), and the light. It could be done if we had to do it. Also… both robots come in at $3,473, including the polycarbonate arm on the Mighty Mouse.

So… if our Mighty Auk sucks so bad that it would not do well in the finals, we may offer our Mighty Mouse as a partner to a team who needs a highly-mobile, limboing stack wrecker.

We are not sure if this second robot was the right thing to do. We did not make a practice robot because of this 'bot… but I feel that the inspiration behind this robot is worth it. Time will tell.

Thanks goes out to all of the TechnoKats and a few others who knew about this design and kept quiet. Our management here at Delphi has recommended that we go ahead and file for a US patent on this design (which we did) so that our rights are protected.

This thing is a ball to drive. Please stop by our pit to check it out.

Andy B.

*Originally posted by Jnadke *
**Are the balls air-filled or solid rubber? If they are air-filled, how thick is the skin?

I’d imagine the drivetrain is optimized with speed in mind rather than torque. How much torque can you exert on the surface of the ball before it slips? **

The balls are 8" steel “gazing balls” (hollow) that you can buy from a home deco store (we got them for $6 per ball at Homier.com). These balls have urethane molded over them at about a 1/4" thickness. They are about +/- 0.003" out of round. They dent if dropped, and weigh about 3-4 lbs each. They are not inflatable.

This drivetrain is optimized for mobility. The speed and power is less than an optimized track drive robot… but this thing can go from travelling straight to turning right of left with absolutely no delay.

As for how much torque this can put out or how much torque a ball can handle… we don’t know yet.

Andy B.

While I think this is great and very cool, I just wonder if this years task was so simple that we can afford such lavash things. What about other teams who can barely move? Were the TechnoCats right to spluge on their drive while many teams still don’t move?

Just a question.

How exactly does it work, do the wheels just spin clockwise or counter clockwise and if they are above the ground?? I don’t exactly get it and it would be cool to get an explanation

thanks

I dont really see the great advantage of something like this… Obviously extreme mobility, but not so much more than can be accomplished with other drive systems, or that such mobility would really be necessary, or even that easily controlled.

I’d like to actually see this thing and evaluate it further.

*Originally posted by JosephM *
**While I think this is great and very cool, I just wonder if this years task was so simple that we can afford such lavash things. What about other teams who can barely move? Were the TechnoCats right to spluge on their drive while many teams still don’t move?

Just a question. **

It’s a really dumb question.

The TechnoKats have the resources to do things like this, so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. If a team with lesser resources wanted to try something similar, there’s nobody stopping them.

FIRST is about making intelligent decisions regarding your strategy while keeping in mind your opponents, your philosophy, and your resources.

What did you want the TechnoKats to do, exactly? Were they supposed to build another robot that they would donate to a team?

*Originally posted by JosephM *
**While I think this is great and very cool, I just wonder if this years task was so simple that we can afford such lavash things. What about other teams who can barely move? Were the TechnoCats right to spluge on their drive while many teams still don’t move?

Just a question. **

what does that have to do with anything?? if they have money, and energy and resources to make 2 robots, all the power to them…

its sad to see people criticize other teams for doing something good.

Now i dont have to keep my mouth shut anymore, T-Kats. :wink: This is an awesome drive system and it’s great that you are using your resources to move it to the next level for everyone. I’ve seen some video of this in action, and i’d have to say that it is amazing. Nice job guys, cant wait to compete you in Chicago :cool:

I never criticized the Tcats at all. I said I like it. I’m just saying that mabey the effort to build another bot or another drive system could have gone to inspiring another team.

*Originally posted by JosephM *
**Were the TechnoCats right to spluge on their drive while many teams still don’t move?

Just a question. **

Hopefully, this thing may inspire some people. FIRST is about inspiration.

Also, as for the cost… the parts on this cost about $700. I don’t see it as a splurge.

Andy B.

Wow…Just wow…I’m amazed by this and the other techno Kat robot. I say congratulations…Not only for having two awesome robots, but for being brave enough to try. And to WernerNYK who cares if its an advantage, its just cool that they did it. I mean its a totally revolutionary drive train, its great that it just exists, even if its not an advantage( which I personally think it is).

Chris

Good job, don’t listen to negative people

*Originally posted by JosephM *
**I never criticized the Tcats at all. I said I like it. I’m just saying that mabey the effort to build another bot or another drive system could have gone to inspiring another team. **

what they did, is inspiring other teams. it can give others new ideas for future competitions.

explain what you meant by "mabey the effort to build another bot or another drive system could have gone to inspiring another team."

that makes no since to me…

*Originally posted by WernerNYK *
**I dont really see the great advantage of something like this… Obviously extreme mobility, but not so much more than can be accomplished with other drive systems, or that such mobility would really be necessary, or even that easily controlled.

I’d like to actually see this thing and evaluate it further. **

The advantage is that it’s far less technically complex than any swerve drive.

After all, swerve drives are designed to emulate the sort of movement this can provide, doing so by mimicking the single plane that intersects the sphere’s surface that is riding along the floor.

It’s no different than a swerve drive, really, but it is simpler. At least, as far as I can tell. . . the major disadvantage is that it’s driven by two relatively smooth surfaces interacting with one another, and that means “stalling” is a possibility.