This is the Omni wheel robot gripper, and is aimed to improve robotic gripper mechanism through the use of wheels (which matches the theme of this contest), and as a proof of concept through Solidworks model. However I do not have the resources and time to create this right now, I hope you would appreciate the effort and the concept and take consideration into my idea. This gripper mechanism would be useful for tough situations and capable of gripper objects from different shapes to various sizes and rotate it at ease without having to set the object down on one side and pick it up again. This could improve the efficiency and reduce time and costs within an industrial environment. Omni wheels are also robust enough to handle loads and perhaps could be used as a modular mobile robot and move around as you set it flat. It also has the potential of space exploration and carry out missions that involves gripping and moving around. A possible use would be to replace the conventional gripper on the Mars Curiosity rover and replace it with this mechanism, and it could be detached and deployed as a separate mobile robot for surveillance etc.
Step 1: The Gripper Base
This can be 3D printed.
Step 2: The Omni Wheel
This can be 3D printed or bought online. However, I can't provide more detailed instructions about the usage of omni wheel. This wheel replaces normal soft robots gripper and allow greater degree of freedom of manipulation and rotate objects without having to lay down on one side. This also eases the control of the structure overall.
Step 3: The Wrist Piece
This can be 3D printed and allow movements and orientation of the omni wheel in order to fit itself on various objects of different sizes and shapes.
Step 4: The Wheel Holder
This can be 3D printed and act as a holder for the wheel as well as having motors installed on each side of the shafts and responsible for rotating the omni wheel at the center axis.
Step 5: The Linkage
This can be 3D printed. it allows the movement of the gripper and to reach further distance as well as the conventional movement you could find from a normal robotic arm.
Step 6: Gather These Materials
These materials can be 3D printed, bought from robot shop, ebay etc. and assembled later on. The can could just be any soft drinks can or any object of choice. Omni wheel can be bought online, as well as motors required which are not shown from the images above. However, please be aware that motors are required for the control of omni wheel, wrist piece, gripper base, linkage and wheel holder.
Step 7: The Finished Product - Omni Wheel Robot Grippper
After assembly of each part from the images above, (it was done in Solidworks, please refer to files attached, some files are not relevant, please ignore those), it is capable of manipulating objects and is much more efficient than a normal soft robotics gripper and allows greater degree of freedom. This provides the benefit of gripping in a difficult situation when other linkages' orientations and movements are blocked or not allowed. Please feel free to give some feedback and since this is an idea worth sharing, please make any alterations that you think would improve the concept further. I would love to collaborate to put this into reality and perhaps in the industry. An improvement to this design could be making smaller omni wheel and longer linkages/ fingers for more precise movements. Switching to mecanum wheels might be beneficial too.