Most robots that are designed to travel use wheels or try to mimic animal or human legs to move. But researchers from the ETH Zurich’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control have developed a little six-inch cube called Cubli that can walk, jump, and balance itself on a corner.
The Cubli has been created by Swiss engineers. It measures 15 cm × 15 cm × 15 cm. It has three reaction wheels mounted on three faces of the cube, each attached to a brushless DC motor, plus movement sensors, an embedded processor and battery. These reaction wheels of Cubli rotate at high angular velocities to enable it to jump up from its ‘resting position’ onto one of its edges without external support. The sensors estimate the tilt of the cube and provide the angular velocity.
Once the Cubli has almost reached the corner stand up position, controlled motor torques are applied to make it balance on its corner. Cubli can detect disturbances to adjust its position while balancing on its corner, and also rotate on the spot. In addition to balancing, the motor torques can also be used to achieve a ‘controlled fall’ such that the Cubli can be commanded to fall in any arbitrary direction. Combining these three abilities — jumping up, balancing, and controlled falling — the Cubli is able to ‘walk’.
Researchers believe the technology could be used in future space explorer vehicles and self-assembling robots. Here’a video of Cubli.
Source: ETH Zurich’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control
Thanks To: Daily Mail