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Monday, January 31, 2011

Ballbots - Mobility Innovation from Switzerland

A disruptive innovation from Switzerland may change mobile robotics and how we will use it in the future. Creative students at the Autonomous Systems Lab, ETH Zurich, have developed a unique Ballbot, able to balance and drive on a single sphere. Inspired by researchers from USA (1) and Japan (2) they have designed the first Ballbot prototyp, called Rezero, especially for high acceleration, it moves in a very organic and elegant way. Rezero moves on a single ball, not on wheels. It can move spontaneously in any direction and does so in a manner as smooth and elegant as a figure skater on ice. Whether used as a guide, a toy, a service robot or a daily aid, a Ballbot can prove its potential in a narrow, varying and crowded environment.

Rezero is the first Ballbot which does not only focus on stability, the calm balancing, but also aims at high agility, the fast movement. Primarily, Rezero is meant to entertain and impress. It is supposed to create emotions. It will be able to interact with a small group of people, react on attractions and in doing so create a hands-on experience with the Ballbot technology. The Ballbot will be an ambassador of its own movement skills.
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(1) Ralph Hollis at Microdynamics Systems Lab, CMU, Pittsburgh, USA
(2) Masaaki Kumagai and Takaya Ochiai at Tohoku Gakuin University, Japan

1 comment:

Sébastien said...

I have seen the same kind of robot on a ball from a team in Tohoku (Japan). It's in IEEE Spectrum "best videos of 2010". I wonder who was first. The Japanese video is a more impressive, though, with the robots following your every movements.