ProjectOMNi is a modular, omnidirectional robot for museum duties

OMNi is a modular, omnidirectional robot for museum duties

Category articles

Museums let visitors explore subjects in science, history and more with exhibits which usually consist of screens or other interactive media. Staff members are responsible for the task of regularly visiting the museums and examining if they’re still functioning and also to help visitors navigate the exhibit which takes them away from their duties. To address this issue the team of the EDM Studio located in Vancouver ( Will Donaldson and Darran Edmundson) were looking to create an autonomous robotic platform for telepresence named ” OMNi,” that could perform all of these things independently.

The method they devised is based on three omni wheels that are placed in a triangle around a base plate that is circular to produce precise motions. The positional feedback is obtained by measuring the motor’s RPM using a closed loop PID controller/Arduino Nano combination and transmitting the information through I2C to the central Raspberry Pi 4. Additionally, there is a small LIDAR module that is embedded in the robot that collects point-cloud data and then creates an autonomous map using digital maps for navigation and position.

OMNi was developed with modularity and expansion in mind. This is the reason why the top plate comes with numerous holes that are drilled into it to attach various accessories. One of them is a robotic grasper that uses servo motors to grasp objects or even touch screens.

To read more about how OMNi was constructed and used in a museum setting, you can read the Donaldson and Edmundson’s writeup here on

Michal Pukala
Electronics and Telecommunications engineer with Electro-energetics Master degree graduation. Lightning designer experienced engineer. Currently working in IT industry.