pic: 2003 TechnoKat Ball Drive : Patent Pending

What can I say other than ‘Wow’? I mean it is really cool! I’m deffinetly gonna make some time to stop by your pits in Houston! Good luck!

?7?i]Originally posted by David Kelly
**what they did, is inspiring other teams. it can give others new ideas for future competitions.

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

that makes no since to me… **

Why not take some of the money that would have gone to building another bot or a more complicated drive system and give it to a struggling team or a new team?

*Originally posted by David Kelly *
** I’ve seen some video of this in action, and i’d have to say that it is amazing. **

i’d like to see that video, does anyone have it?

oh, awesome 'bot, but i’m worried about the power transfer to the actual suface of the balls, how do you acomplish the need friction while still allowing it to move in other directions? And how is the traction on the HDPE?

Awesome, i never thought anyone would actually implement a ball drive.

Thanx

I wasnt really being negative at all. New ideas and concepts are always great. I’m just a bit skeptical as to what kind of difference this will actually make compared to other traditional drives, which is why I said that I would like to see it in person in closer detail… possibly try moving it around.

I mean, look at team 190… we’re always coming up with brand new ideas (translational drive, “wonder wheels,” CVTs, INS, amongst other things). I’ll never knock an good idea, new engineering concepts… I think it’s great. Believe it or not, I know I personally was thinking of a similar type of systems earlier this year, and I know a few of my teamates were as well.

And I think someone else mentioned that it could “stall”… this is entirely true… a more descriptive term would be slipping. When a system lies entirely upon friction, slippage will – at some point – occur… even our CVT system will slip under certain circumstances.

*Originally posted by WernerNYK *
**And I think someone else mentioned that it could “stall”… this is entirely true… a more descriptive term would be slipping. When a system lies entirely upon friction, slippage will – at some point – occur… even our CVT system will slip under certain circumstances. **

“Slipping” occurs in all drive trains, really, whether it occur where the wheels interface with the carpet, or where the chain meets a sprocket. Gears, well, can’t slip.

I used “stall” because it seems to me that, unless the point at which the omniwheels and the balls slip is the same, the drivetrain might do funny things. Of course, it seems likely that the balls would slip somewhere before the omniwheels slipped along the carpet, and at that point, they’d be acting as casters. It’s getting to that point that seems like it’d be the biggest problem to me. That is, if the ball is slipping some and isn’t driving at the same speed as the omniwheel, the drivetrain would become inefficient and could, possibly, bind.

I’m interested in seeing how the Technokats overcame that issue, or if it was really an issue at all.

But the ball system is more suseptable to slipping compared to the traditional motors/gears/wheels system.

WHAT?!?!?! :eek:

how does this work. I’ve read the whole thread but noone has taken the time to really explain the system, someone please explain it to me…thanks

Also, I might just be imagining this, but didn’t i read somewhere that you had to compete with the robot that you check in? If so then you guys wouldn’t have the option of using the second bot, right?

*Originally posted by JosephM *
**But the ball system is more suseptable to slipping compared to the traditional motors/gears/wheels system. **

It’s no more susceptible to slipping than wheels interfacing with the carpet are.

You guys keep claiming that this will “inspire other teams”. Perhaps to put the extra effort out and raise the bar, yes…but no more than your average joe team would, though.

I don’t think they really sparked a new trend in drive trains. They’re patenting it anyhow, so it’s not like anyone can emulate them.

Personally, (not criticizing) but i think that takes away from the community. Patenting a drive train makes it a little awkward if a team makes a drive system somewhat similar, and then somehow it ends up they sue them over it or something. I’m not saying they would, but if they wouldn’t, then why patent?

Odd thoughts yes…but I’m just curious as to why you would do that?

And oh yes…an explanation of the system would be rather cool. I think I have it figured out but it’s probably totally off.

[edit] one more question, if someone were to pick that end of the robot up, would the balls fall out? or are they attached?[/edit]

[edit2] has your patent been applied for? or is it pending? there is a difference… [/edit2]

*jeremy

*Originally posted by Gope *
How does this work. I’ve read the whole thread but noone has taken the time to really explain the system, someone please explain it to me…thanks

The omniwheels are like regular wheels but those rubber things on there allow them to spin sideways. If you don’t understand how they work, do a search or ask and I will explain further.

Anyways, the ball portion, if you look at it, is connected to the main drive gearbox, powered by a drill motor. The drill motor drives the ball forward/backward, and spins the omni-wheels forward and backward. Theorhetically it should drive much like a standard 2 wheel drive robot if this was all they had.

However, if you look, the chiaphua motors are on the side of the balls, and spin them sideways, giving the robot a horizontal force. When the robot is at a standstill, if you drive the chiaphuas, the balls will propel the robot sideways. The omniwheels, having those easy-spinning rubber things, will just follow the direction of the balls and will act like a translational drive.

When the robot is moving, and you drive the balls, from the sound of what Baker said, the robot will behave much like a car. It won’t move sidways, but the front of the robot will turn to point at a new direction. Basically, it’s like stopping with a traditional tank drive, turning to point in a new direction, and going again. The difference is they can do this on-the-fly.

I haven’t seen it in action, so I am not positive on this. I am only going off what I see in the picture and what was said.

*Originally posted by Gope *
**Also, I might just be imagining this, but didn’t i read somewhere that you had to compete with the robot that you check in? If so then you guys wouldn’t have the option of using the second bot, right? **

Yes, and no. They do allow you to make your robot modular. You have to pass inspection with every module subset you plan to use in place. Technically, this is one big module in reference to the Robot Controller. I don’t really see any difference. Just as long as they can meet Rule K3, under $3500, with both robots then I’m happy.

*Originally posted by Jeremy_Mc *
Personally, (not criticizing) but i think that takes away from the community. Patenting a drive train makes it a little awkward if a team makes a drive system somewhat similar, and then somehow it ends up they sue them over it or something. I’m not saying they would, but if they wouldn’t, then why patent?

I think we have a misconception here on what a patent is. A patent doesn’t prevent someone from using an idea altogether. It just prevents someone from benefitting/making money off it. You can still use the design for your use. However, if a company wants to put it into a product and sell it, then they have to pay the TechnoKats.

*Originally posted by Jeremy_Mc *
You guys keep claiming that this will “inspire other teams”. Perhaps to put the extra effort out and raise the bar, yes…but no more than your average joe team would, though.
Like I’ve said before, every bit counts in the long run

Personally, (not criticizing) but i think that takes away from the community. Patenting a drive train makes it a little awkward if a team makes a drive system somewhat similar, and then somehow it ends up they sue them over it or something. I’m not saying they would, but if they wouldn’t, then why patent?
I’ll let someone higher answer that one…

Odd thoughts yes…but I’m just curious as to why you would do that?
Please refer to previous answer…

And oh yes…an explanation of the system would be rather cool. I think I have it figured out but it’s probably totally off.
You are comming to St Louis, come and see it for yourself

[edit] one more question, if someone were to pick that end of the robot up, would the balls fall out? or are they attached?[/edit]
They are attached

*Originally posted by M. Krass *
**It’s no more susceptible to slipping than wheels interfacing with the carpet are. **

You have the motors using a wheel to rotate the ball, interaction 1 that can slip. Then you have a slick ball that rotates on the ground, interaction 2. There are two of the main problem parts.

This is what FIRST is all about. I am Inspired. This thread is about Recognizing the Technocats. If you want, I will start another thread where I will recognize the things other teams have done that have inspired me and others like me. Not here. This thread is about 45’s moment in the sun. I don’t even care if it doesn’t work as well as they would like. YOU MADE IT. You may never use it, but you made it. AWESOME. Every year there has been 1 team (sometimes 2) that has done something that really stood out. This year 1 team has done 2 things that stand out.
Thanks guys.

*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. **

even if another team had inspiration from them instead of them making a second bot (still don’t see how they relate) they wouldn’t have a moving robot if no one on the team knows how to make it move. i’m hoping the move-less robots will be elimintated this year, should be wtih that tranny FIRST gave every team this year

*Originally posted by JosephM *
**You have the motors using a wheel to rotate the ball, interaction 1 that can slip. Then you have a slick ball that rotates on the ground, interaction 2. There are two of the main problem parts. **

There’s slippage all over in a drivetrain. The cumulative amount is what’s important. The number of places that slip, when examining things as a system, isn’t terribly relevant.

I trust that the TechnoKats have worked out the perceived problems. But, we haven’t seen it work at all yet. Like I said originally, maybe it’s not really that big of an issue at all. Only time will tell.

I’m interested in learning how they solved whatever problems may have popped up, rather than making it sound like they made some horrible decision. It was their decision, not yours, after all.

team 461 would like to say one thing.
WOW!
that is all.

As always, I am inspired by what the TechnoKitties have done. Their ingenuity will push our team to do something as clever in the future.

About patents: They are intended to fully share an idea with anyone who wants to know about it. They do not stop anyone from using it. What a patent does do is protect the inventor from having his/her idea stolen. It stops a person or company from financially benefiting from another person’s idea.

The original intention for the patent was to establish a record of innovative ideas in order to preserve them. It seems silly with today’s technology, but if the only person on Earth who knew how to do this one brand new thing that everyone could benefit from died, that technology would be lost. The patent process helped prevent us from having to “reinvent the wheel” so to speak.

If the TK ball drive is patentable, then I say go for it. If a company sees value in their idea, then they can sell it and use the money for a greater good.

Great job 45.

-Paul

very cool design…and wow:yikes: great job t-kats

WOW!

Ideas don’t drive technology advancement … it’s those who make ideas reality that drive it. Technokats, way to drive technology and thanks for letting us ride along!

Everyone, don’t forget math class … does anyone know the answer to the following equation?

Ball Drive + Segway =

… AWESOME!

I think some people are giving the TechnoKats less credit than they deserve…

Essentially, this is a true omnidirectional drivetrain. They can go forward, backward, left, and right at will. They can also change the direction their robot points at will. I haven’t seen anything this great since the Kiwi Drive. Unfortuantely, you can’t really do this without problems because of no 3rd drill motor this year.

With the exception of the Kiwi Drive last year, I’ve yet to see a team that has a truly omni-directional drivetrain. Now the TechnoKats are added to this 2 team list. Many teams can create the illusion of an omnidirectional drive but they really can only move in 2 directions in any given instant. Swerve drives have to wait for the wheels to re-align. Teams with a 2nd drivetrain that drops down still can’t move in a diagonal path, and have to wait for the drivetrain to lower.

I suggest some people read this:

Originally posted by patrickd

I think there is some confusion about drive systems… and locomotion in general.

On a plane (i.e. the surface of the playing field), describing an object’s position at any instant in time requires three coordinates. For example, a robot can have an x-location, y-location, and direction (angle) which the robot is pointing. You can not describe the robot’s position correctly with less than three coordinates. It is also possible to describe position with polar coordinates and other coordinate systems.

Now, over time, a robot can alter these coordinates. Typically, a robot can move forward and backwards. In other words, it can translate along one axis (move in the direction of the front of the robot). Most robots can also turn at the same time (adjust the angle which their robot is pointing). These two “degrees of freedom” are what you get out of a tank-drive system, which most teams choose to use. The number of degrees of freedom your robot has is defined as the number of coordinates (x-translation, y-translation, and z-rotation) that your robot can adjust simultaneously. A tank drive might be able to turn and translate in another direction, but it can not translate sideways, thus it does not have the third degree of freedom.

Typically, an omni-directional drive system is defined as a drive system with three degrees of freedom. Very few (I can only think of one last year) teams ever have three degrees of freedom. Tank drive only has two. In fact, even if you can turn all your wheels in any direction you like (i.e. swerve drive) you still have only two degrees of freedom, because at any instant in time your wheels are pointed in a given direction, and your robot is restricted to that linear and angular movement, giving you only two degrees of freedom. However, the advantage of the swerve is that you have the ability to change the direction of your prismatic (translational) degree of freedom with respect to your robot. If you can change wheel angles almost instantaneously, your robot is almost as good as one that can go accelerate in any direction at any angle, thus you virtually have three degrees of freedom. Robots that have a set of wheels that drop down perpendicular to your main set also only have two degrees of freedom, since at a given instant in time they can only move in one translational direction and rotate.

Now, a crab-walking robot could be built such that it has three degrees of freedom, but it would be difficult and almost certainly very very slow. The efficiency of an electric motor is far better than the efficiency of a crab-walking mechanism.

There only two mechanical ways I know of to get three degrees of freedom… meaning at any time, you can have any x-acceleration, any y-acceleration, and any angular acceleration. One of these I have posted a brief paper on how to get started on applying it to a FIRST robot (in the white papers) and the other is a little bit abstract and not too likely to work on a FIRST robot. One team had omnidirectional last year, and I forget the number, but I think it was a first or second year team. Basically it entails having three or four omniwheels perpendicular to the center of the robot. With three wheels, each unique combination of independent torques to the three wheels results in a unique direction and angular velocity of the robot.

Challenge for next year: Try to improve upon this drive such that the traction between the ball and the drive wheels can be improved to the point where it rivals a tank-drive robot. If anyone can do this, they would have the supreme advantage.