Airtrax omni-directional “wheels” Jason 01 Apr 2006

18 comments Latest by Art Malm

This is really innovative (Quicktime Movie).

18 comments so far (Jump to latest)

zorbarob 01 Apr 06

One of my least favorite cliches is “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.” Those few, seemingly innocent words can kill innovation faster than a “devil’s advocate.”

Finally, a literal refutation!

Caleb 01 Apr 06

I wish you guys would timestamp your posts — re: April 1st and the several minutes of white pixels.

Is my quicktime working? Is it an April fools joke? Who knows. Welcome to the jungle.

Alex 01 Apr 06

Airtrax didn’t actually invent these omniwheels though. I first saw them at the FIRST robotics competition ( and a random website says that they were invented by a Swiss company 35 years ago. Still very interesting.

Jeff L 01 Apr 06

That is pretty slick!

So, how do we apply that to cars?

scott brooks 01 Apr 06

You got to love it. With space being at a premium a product like this will have profound effects on the way that wharehouses operate.

They will be able to store more good, have them stored closer together …..increasing the return on the same amount of space.

Interestingly enough we are now seeing cars that can park sideways …..but of course we havent had to deal with the space crunch in North America like they have in Europe and asia ……
I hope someone that has seen this will get inspired and adapt this thinking to my roller blades or to my lawn mower, stroller, shopping cart …..

Pretty cool !



Austin 02 Apr 06

“Airtrax didnít actually invent these omniwheels though. I first saw them at the FIRST robotics competition ( and a random website says that they were invented by a Swiss company 35 years ago. Still very interesting.”

Yes! I was just about to comment, but someone beat me to it. My team actually introduced the idea, then, a few years later, other teams did the same. Our two front wheels consisted of a set of two plates, each with “wheels” along the edge, offset so that no matter what position the wheel-of-wheels was, it could slide side-to-side. The two wheels where oriented 90 degrees to each-other. The back wheels where differential. With this system, we could move back and forth, but we also had a very small turning radius.

Danno 02 Apr 06

Get the Scientists working on the wheels from Snow Crash.

Dan 03 Apr 06

I love the interface for making the thing go faster and slower. Two buttons, one with a turtle next to it (ie. slower), and one with a rabbit next to it (ie. faster). Seemed like a simple way to get around the language barrier, and it should be pretty obvious what the buttons do.

Daniel 03 Apr 06

Their web server is chugging. I think SvN needs a similar saying to “you’ve been slash dotted”.

Douglas 03 Apr 06

> Itís amazing that the design is so old
> and has gotten so little exposure.

I think the Wikipedia article explains it:

“The US Navy bought the patent”

Back to that pro-con patent thing again :-) If the guy hadn’t patented it, the Navy wouldn’t have given him any money, and would have just taken the idea. If it hadn’t have been patented, this pwobably wouldn’t be a “wow, look at those wheels” post…


Tom 10 Apr 06

Does it also sweep the floor as it runs?

Alvin B. Smith 27 May 06

Does anyone know any company that had run these lift trucks for an extended period of time. We’re concerned about maintenance and parts availability as “everything breaks”, eventually. Support when this happens is very important!

Art Malm 23 Aug 06

Reports from the company indicates the lift trucks are operating nearly maintenance free, but there isn’t much discussion anywhere about this company. There is a new message board for AITX at

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