Multi-material anisotropic friction wheels for omnidirectional ground vehicles

Genya Ishigami, Jim Overholt, Karl Iagnemma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, a novel wheel design utilizing the anisotropic friction property for omnidirectional vehicles is presented. The proposed wheel has a series of bendable "nodes" on its circumference, each of which is made of two materials with differing friction properties: one material exhibits high friction, and the other exhibits low friction. The high friction section of the node generates a high traction force, while the low friction section enables the wheel to passively skid. The wheels are arranged such that the robot wheel exhibits high traction in its drive direction (much like a conventional tire), but low traction when sliding laterally. Exploiting this "anisotropic friction" property, the proposed wheel enables a vehicle to realize omnidirectional motion (i.e., the vehicle can move any direction within the plane - forward, back, or laterally). While many other omnidirectional wheel drives exist, the proposed wheel is simpler than any other existing design because the wheel is composed of a single, moldable element. This paper summarizes the design of the proposed wheel and presents experimental comparisons between an omnidirectional robot using the proposed wheel and an omnidirectional robot using conventional wheels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-267
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Robotics and Mechatronics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb
Externally publishedYes


  • Anisotropic friction property
  • Omnidirectional mobile robot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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