3D Robotics

A copter designed to hit things and keep going

From Robohub, an introduction to GimBall, a flying robot that can collide with objects seamlessly, from EPFL. Excerpt:

The concept
The inner frame comprises everything a flying robot needs to stabilize in flight: a coaxial motor, two control surfaces, the battery, an IMU and control electronics. In case of collision, GimBall’s spherical protective frame prevents obstacles from touching the inner frame and can passively rotate thanks to a gimbal system (hence the name). This way, the contact force does not affect the orientation of the inner frame, whose center of mass is also carefully centered. This allows the inner frame to always stay upright, and maintain the robot in stable flight.

A conventional platform will be strongly affected by collisions, because its orientation is disturbed. GimBall keeps the orientation of its inner frame stable thanks to the gimbal system. Note that this is a side-view of a collision in the vertical plane, but the principle remains the same from all angles, since the protective cage rotates around all 3 axes.

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  • Order motors from Himax, other parts are going to 3D printer today......just had to build myself one :)

  • It wouldn't be all that hard to put a "screen" around the sphere to help deal with branches.

  • ... could you use quad/tricopter inside this spherical protective frame as well?

  • It is just great! Very good idea

  • Oh hey, HK has one....cool :)


  • Cool, I also like there counter routing prop set up, wouldn't have thought the motor bearings where big enough to allow a double shaft set up?



  • Gary any more info that you could share, I am curious to know bit more..
  • Moderator

    I played with one a couple of years ago, they are fun

  • Jack...yeah, just the right angle on a branch, and this thing is no longer flying, I imagine.
  • Randy, this is not the same, but similar, and a fun toy. I had a chance to play with one, and it gave me something to ponder...


    Hey, its only a matter of time before a knockoff helicopter ball becomes available from an overseas manufacturer!
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