Wot-NXT: DottyWot & SpottyWot?

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The WotWots is filmed in Australia at the Melbourne Zoo, and follows the adventures of two adorable siblings from outer space, SpottyWot and DottyWot. These delightful creatures come to explore planet earth in their steam-powered spaceship and land themselves in the middle of a zoo. All their adventures are built on one central ingredient which defines the series – the joy of learning and discovery.
The WotWots
ABC Tv’s DottyWot and SpottyWot in their Flying Chairs!

The WotWots is an energetic, colourful and entertaining show for children and has been created by the Academy Award winning Weta Workshop in New Zealand. The creators of the series,  are five times Academy Award winner Richard Taylor and internationally acclaimed Australian children’s author Martin Baynton. The puppet-like WotWots characters are computer-animated over live-action footage by Weta Workshop, the visual effects company founded by Taylor, and well-known for its work on the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.


Introducing the “Wot-NXT” Mobile Chair!

Quad-Drive Omni-Bot
SpottyWot and the Wot-NXT Mobile Chair!

Whilst playing around with my set of Rotacaster Omni-wheels, I came to the conclusion that they wood make an excellent wheel-chair in a Killough platform. During the concept stage for this Robot my son seated himself next to me with his SpottyWot cuddly Toy under his arm. The Wot-NXT Chair is the result of this meeting!

SpottyWot & the Rotacaster Fitted Wot-NXT Mobile Chair in Action!

The Wot-NXT is a more compact and refined version of my previous “Killough Platforms“. The Wot-NXT Mobile Chair uses 3x Rotacaster Omni-wheels in a Killough Platform configuration, power by 3x Small Lego Power Function Motors. A Mindsensor PSP-Nx-v3: Sony PlayStation2 Controller interface for NXT is used for controlling the Wot-NXT Mobile Chair. I prefer the PlayStation2 Controller over other controllers, including the Lego PowerFunction Controllers, because of the flexibility you have with all the extra buttons and the two Analogue Joysticks. I use an extremely Solid Tri-arm Joiner arrangement with each of the Arm separated by 120 Degrees construction  method as I discussed in my Solid Holonomic Platform Joiner article a few weeks ago.

Wot-NXT Wot-NXT Wot-NXT
Wot-NXT Mobile Chair Construction Details Up Close!

The only drawback with the design is due to the extra weight of carrying SpottyWot, which causes the platform to bog-down on carpet. The performance on hard surface floors is not hindered with the weight of the passenger at all. In fact, one has to take care of the amount of throttle used as you will soon find poor SpottyWot and vehicle entangled in the furniture or hitting the skirting board with a thud! But it is fun!

Quad-Drive Omni-Bot
SpottyWot heading off in the Wot-NXT Mobile Chair!

The Wot-NXT Mobile Chair is very maneuverable and great fun for BIG and standard sized kids. My 5 year old Anthony, like 99% of children use a PlayStation2 Controller as if it was part of them. Within a couple of minutes he had it negotiating the dining suite legs with ease. All I managed was the removal of varnish of the chair legs.

A Full-Size Version of the Wot-NXT Mobile Chair would be great fun, but more importantly be of great benefit to those that require a wheel-hair and would appreciate the excellent maneuverability that the Killough Platform could offer them. It’s ability to quickly rotate in it’s own foot-print would be of great benefit in many non-wheelchair friendly environments. Having only three contact points with the grounding surfaces, also makes the platform extremely stable on many undulating surfaces. Add Acceleration sensors to allow the wheelchair ‘s occupant to use the motion of their body to control it, and the possibilities become enormous for wheelchair sport, etc. I need a bigger shed & bank balance to carry it further unfortunately!

I’ve been working with GM of Rotacaster Australia, Mr. Peter McKinnon to develop Rotacaster Omni-wheels for Robotics Platforms. Initially for the Lego Mindstorms Platform as it’s what I use.

It all began when I simply enquired via the Rotacaster website to if they had considered making there omni-wheels available to the Robotics world. Too my amazement, within 24hrs I had the Rotacaster GM saying that had not considered that market and asked if I would be interested in going along the development journey to make it happen. Of coarse I said yes.

Having used the other available Omni-wheels on the market, the Rotacaster is a superior product in all aspects. These Omni-wheels are simply a beautiful work of Engineering (ART). The Rotacaster  are the only Omni-wheel I’m aware of that will track in a “” like theory suggests, resulting with virtually nil slippage on all household hard floors surface. The “Durometer Type Rollers” in the Omni-wheel exceeded all my expectations by a long way after trying those offered from other manufactures! The “Durometer Type Rollers” work like a sticky compound race tyre on a high performance race vehicle.

Many thanks to Mr. Peter McKinnon from Rotacaster for having faith in me to take on the challenges involved with developing what is an Industrial Rotacaster Omni-wheel, into a product suitable for use with Lego Mindstorms & Technics Robots.

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