I'm doing some research for my university project and in particular it concerns a functional design project. I thought it would have been possible to design a 3-wheel mobile robot with an active caster wheel in the front and two passive standard wheels in the back using differental drive. But all papers i'm reading states exactly the opposite: differential drive robots have two active wheels in the back and a passive caster wheel in the front for balance. Does any of you know if it is possible to realize my idea?
A caster is non driven but I think I get what you're asking. It is possible. But with one driving wheel, you would have to be able to rotate the swivel joint of the wheel as well in order to make the robot turn. (Two motors - one driving the wheel and other rotating the wheel around the axis perpendicular to the floor)
This wheel configuration is called "tricycle drive". Google and you can find more material on this. Here's a random paper related