Translational drift also known as melty brain or tornado drive is a form of locomotion, notably found in certain combat robots.
The principle is applied to spinning robots, where the driving wheels are normally on for the whole revolution, resulting in an increased rotational energy, which is stored for destructive effect, but, given perfect symmetry, no net translational acceleration. The drive works by modulating the power to the wheel or wheels that spin the robot. The net application of force in one direction results in acceleration in the plane - it can't really be characterised as "forward", "backward and so forth, as the whole robot is spinning. However, in a standard configuration an accelerometer is used to determine the speed of rotation, and a light emitting diode is turned on once per revolution, to give a nominal forward direction indicator to the operator. The internal controls implement the commands received from the remote control to modulate the drive to the wheels, typically by turning it off for part of a revolution.
Open Melt is an open source implementation of melty brain, the code being licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence.
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