Square-wheeled robot design will help propel MEMS, not CARS: "
You probably won’t see this “breakthrough” tech at your local Beemer dealership anytime soon, but researchers from Troy, NY-based Distributed Robotics have (please excuse the pun) stumbled upon a new method of locamotion that uses a rotating weight to slowly propel a vehicle with square wheels. Now more than just the subject of humorous Far Side cartoons, the prototype square-wheeled crawler uses a motor to horizontally drive a weight around each of the four interdependent wheels (which are slightly offset from one another), moving the vehicle foward as the wheel underneath the weight falls flat to the ground. Rather than trying to get NASCAR interested in their technology, Distrubuted Robotics and partner Global Composites envision a more nano-scale, MEMS-use for this system, which when scaled down could also theoretically work using hydrodynamic, magnetic, electromagnetic, or electrostatic forces instead of gravity.
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