IREX 2011: Omni-Crawler Robot (Video)

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During IREX 2011, I had the opportunity to check out the Omni-Crawler robot developed at Osaka University. Conceptually, it's pretty amazing. It can 'turn on a dime', or more correctly, it doesn't need to turn at all. The unique Omni-Ball drive enables it to move in any direction in its plane of operation, and can make those moves almost instantaneously.

The Omni-Crawler approach will definitely be a significant benefit in some applications that can be improved by it's capabilities, and some applications that were previously impossible. At the same time, the overall complexity of the design and implementation, at least in the research lab prototype stage, raises some questions about how effectively it could be commercialized. The robot has tremendous potential, if it can be production engineered to become a reliable, cost effective subsystem.



2 thoughts on “IREX 2011: Omni-Crawler Robot (Video)

  1. Hello,
    I just watched a video of your Omni Crawler. Your drive train is one of the coolest designs I have ever seen! I am on a high school FIRST Robotics Competition team (we have been developing drive trains, manipulators etc for our competition)and have an acute interest in everything robotics. The more I watch your omni crawler video the more confused I am- How do you get the robot’s treads to drive forward.. where is that second motor? Any information you could send would be greatly appreciated :) Your video post made my day.

    Carolyn Mason

    1. Carolyn: The Omni-Crawler is pretty amazing. It was developed at Osaka University. I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a lot of additional information at this point. You might be able to figure out their design approach by studying the photos in this Diginfo post about the robot: link to

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