Sunday, June 3, 2018

This Cube Can Balance Itself, Jump, And Walk

Technological breakthroughs don't always come from likely sources. Sometimes they're complete accidents, or at least unrelated to what researchers were intending to find. And sometimes it's all about trying a thing to see what will happen and worrying about what to do with it down the road. 

Take, for example, the Cubli. It sure doesn't look like it has many practical applications. It looks more like a grad school project that tests a principle, or something somebody put together just to see if they could rather than a serious machine. On closer inspection, the Cubli is definitely a real machine capable of some amazing feats – just don't ask what it's for.

There are no strings holding this cube up. It's balancing on one of its corners all by itself. Try to push it over with your finger, and it will right itself.

Inside, there are three reaction wheels, each driven by a brushless DC motor, motor controllers, inertial sensors, an embedded processor, and batteries. It's the same sort of technology that keeps satellites steady in space, although the algorithms are different because of gravity.

Even if you change the angle of the surface it's balancing on, it will adjust and keep its balance.

That's not even the most amazing thing this cube can do. It can rotate on its own, balance on its edge, and even jump up onto its edge from a flat position.

Combining a jump up onto its edge and a controlled fall, it can walk across a table.

Yep, just a cube out for a stroll on a table. It's neat enough on its own, but researchers are looking into how they might use this technology for planetary exploration or for self-assembling robots.

Check out the Cubli in action below!


Author: verified_user