Cubli, a stunning display of balance from ETH

From Wired, the latest IMU/control research from Raffaello d’Andreas' amazing team at ETH:

Cubli, a project out of the Dynamic Systems and Control lab at the Swiss engineering school ETH Zurich, is a 6 inch by 6 inch metal block that employs three spinning wheels to perform a variety of tricks. Its creators humbly tout its ability to “walk,” using angular momentum to flip itself from face to face. This feat was kinda cute when MIT’s diminutive M-Blocks were doing it. Here it’s a little more unsettling.

Even more unsettling, though (and more impressive), are Cubli’s preternatural powers of balance. “Once the Cubli has almost reached the corner stand up position, controlled motor torques are applied to make it balance on its corner,” we’re told. You can change the angle of the surface it’s on, give the balancing wonder a gentle push to the side, or send it spinning like a top, and still, the devil cube retains its balletic poise.

The stabilization comes courtesy of the precise choreography of the internal spinning wheels–a system the researchers point out is similar to the one that keeps satellites oriented in space. Now, the team says they’re developing algorithms that allow Cubli to “automatically learn” and respond dynamically to changes in inertia, weight, or its surface. Presumably after that comes the algorithm that lets it tumble out of its lab in Zurich and lurch into your bedroom at night.

Views: 2316

Comment by John C. on December 22, 2013 at 6:40pm

wow...that jump up from the second edge is pretty amazing.

Comment by Dennis Okeefe on December 22, 2013 at 8:07pm

this is REALLY neat.  i am trying to think of a use for it....  the world is changing fast....

Comment by Rana on December 22, 2013 at 10:46pm

Quite amazing !

Comment by Shawn Thorvilson on December 23, 2013 at 5:54am
Companion cube from Portal!

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