Ball-Balancing Robot Could Be Waiter of the Future

2010-05-12 09:50 AM EST Last Updated: 2010-05-14 11:32 PM EST

The ball-balancing robot began as a novelty project for Tohoku Gakuin University student Takaya Achiai. But as time went on Takaya and his teacher discovered a more practical use.

The robot sits atop a rubber-coated bowling ball. It uses three omni-directional wheels to guide the ball in any direction controlled by a human operator. The wheels allow the robot to pivot, staying straight at all times.

The robot balances with the aid of two sets of accelerometers and gyroscopes.

The weight of a concrete block has no effect on the robot's ability to remain upright. It can be adapted to perform as a multi-directional wheelbarrow or platform that can turn in any direction by rotating on itself.

Apart from its potential as a labor-saving device in warehouses or factories, it might also provide a valuable service as a waiter at cocktail parties.

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