It’s always interesting to see new and innovative means of robot locomotion. At the recent “Innovation Japan 2011” conference researchers from Osaka University unveiled the Omni-Crawler, which is aimed at changing the way both robots and people move.
The Omni-Crawler’s movement is provided by Omni-Balls, an Osaka University creation that moves in all directions, not unlike a swivel caster. The Omni-Ball is simpler and sturdier in design however, making it far more robust than its office chair counterpart.
Several of these Omni-Balls are attached to the crawler, and wrapped in a rubber tank tread like gripper material. The resultant motion is predictably omnidirectional, though we’re guessing you figured that out already thanks to Osaka University’s naming conventions.
While we’re not sure this technology will be making it into production cars any time soon, we would certainly be OK with having an RC Omni-Crawler to play around with in the office.
Stick around after the break to see a short video of the Omni-Crawler in action.