All of the current models offered in stores for the Swegway are only capable of traveling on a flat surface, such as a sidewalk. These products are not able to handle even the smallest of bumps. We have fixed this problem by designing, and making, the Rugged Two-Wheel, a transportation option that can handle challenging environments. The major changes that we made were to the shape of the body and the type of wheel. Our product is as simple and easy to use as the Swegway, but it vastly improves handling on different terrain. There have been multiple reports of people falling off of their Swegways when not on a smooth road; our product ensures users that they will stay in control, even when the riding gets rough.
We set out to change the fact that the common person could not ride a Swegway over uneven areas. Even the slightest hazards could send the passenger flying off of the product. When we designed the Rugged Two-Wheel, we wanted to put the rider in the position of power. We did not want sticks or cracks in the road to be able to dictate the direction in which the rider traveled. Our vehicle has two, ten-inch diameter wheels to handle all terrain. Its body is also designed to travel over unforeseen obstacles. Underneath the foot stand, the body slants down to a smaller flat piece on the bottom. This angle allows the Rugged Two-Wheel to not get caught up on objects beneath it; instead, they just slide through. We used accelerometers to control speed and direction. All the rider has to do is to lean in the direction they want to go. To turn, the person has to put one foot in the forward position and the other in the backward position, so the wheels spin in opposite directions. Our project went relatively smoothly. We started off with a strong idea, and did not have to change much after making the initial plans. The hardest thing for us to accomplish was the electronics. We used an Arduino and motor controller to make the motors work. We did not know very much coding, so we had to learn as we went. The wheels were also a little tricky. It was hard to get them perfect, but eventually we were satisfied.
In our first iteration, we modeled the whole body around the motors. We first cut out two board: one that our feet would go on , and a slightly smaller one that would would go beneath the motor. We then cut out pieces of wood that would encase the motor and also support the rest of the base. Theses pieces had notches that corresponded to notches in the two plates. We slanted the supports down to each base. Our product had two motors and two bases to allow the rider to pivot and turn. To make the pivoting action, we connected the two bases using a metal dowel. In order to do that, we added additional supports with holes in them that would fit the dowel. We also made an adapter to improve the connection between the wheel and the motor. We cut out pieces of wood that would attach to the motor connector, using screws, and to the wheel hub, using bolts. For control of the Rugged Two-Wheel, we used a potentiometer and an accelerometer. The axle was anchored into one of the bases so that it would not rotate in that base. It was then joined to the other half (where it could rotate) and a potentiometer was attached, using a 3D-printed adapter. As a result, when the user tilts one foot forward or backward, the potentiometer rotates and moves the motors in the desired direction. The accelerometer was utilized for traveling in a straight line. The rider leans forwards or backwards, and the Rugged Two-Wheel moves accordingly.
In our second iteration, we made a few minor changes. We took away the potentiometer, and used two accelerometers instead. The movements for turning and changing speed were the same as before. We realized that the potentiometer would require too much coding time, and the accelerometers would still create our desired effect. We also added bearings to the axle, to make it sturdier and turn more easily. Collars were put around the axle, as well, to prevent it from coming out of the bases. The final change that we made in that round of development was to add semi-circular slits on the supports, allowing wires to pass through cleanly.
In our third iteration, we added turntable bearings to the wheel mounts, in between the connections of the motor to the wheel and the base. This added stability and took the weight of the rider off of the motor axles. It also ensured that the wheels did not wobble too much and subsequently break. The Rugged Two-Wheel would work better with more powerful motors, but we have a strong prototype that captures our design goals.