This Omni-Directional Vehicle Goes for One Heck of a Ride

Maker James Bruton built an omni-directional vehicle and shared the process on YouTube and GitHub so you can also build one. Each of the three ball-shaped wheels is made up of two hemispheres and runs on a 1500 watt motor intended for skateboards. It looks something like a futuristic office chair with an emergency stop button. He’s still tinkering with controls and accessories. But Bruton, an engineer and former toy designer, takes it out for a spin in a series of videos.

Parts of Bruton’s videos are a bit more technical than some of the other cool YouTube builds we’ve seen, but we imagine it’s perfect for people actually planning to recreate some of the robots themselves. And watching it come together is still very cool.

In another video in the series, Bruton builds the wheels out of plywood after making a smaller version of the remote-controlled vehicle. He also adds a bucket seat and drives it around outside instead of just in his workshop. The seat is a definite improvement from the first version, where he was at risk of falling off the whole time. He encourages his viewers to suggest more accessories. Maybe a footrest would be a good idea. His feet just kind of dangling there makes me nervous. 

Computer design of three spherical wheels
James Bruton

There’s tons of other videos on James Bruton’s YouTube channel. He’s made many amazing things, including  dog-shaped robots, Star Wars droids, and other pop culture builds. And of course this not-so-virtual reality game where a robot punches you.

A man sits in a red seat on top of three spherical wheels
James Bruton

Bruton’s got tons of ideas and provides enough details to recreate his amazing builds. But even if you’re not a maker, his videos are lots of fun to watch.

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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