A New Approach to Robotic Walking Looks More Like Kinetic Art

Flipping Robot

Here’s a really cool application of 3D printing and robotics by a fellow named [Maundy] – He’s created a very unique kinetic robot which relies on gravity to walk around.

All the electronics are housed in the cylinder as shown above. It can roll freely back and forth by some kind of mechanism inside (not shown), but the beauty of it is, when the cylinder rolls to one end, gravity takes over and the little robot actually flips through the air, reorienting itself onto its other feet.

Due to the flipping nature of the bot, it can even climb over small obstacles with ease – but this one can’t steer, so there’s no threat of them taking over the world. Perhaps with a modification to the control cylinder (turn it into a ball), the robot could orientate itself vertically, and then kind of spin in place in order to steer…

Anyway, you have to see it to believe it, so stick around after the break to see it in action!

[via Makezine]


  1. Phil says:

    It looks like a progress meter

  2. carbohydrates says:

    This is not a new approach.

    I’ve seen at least a few children’s toys that use, essentially, the same mechanism.

  3. Jim Turner says:

    what stops it flipping backwards?

    • Truth says:

      Inertia ? But you are right if the timing of the heavy cylinder moving forward was delayed physics says that it would move backwards.

    • targetdrone says:

      The center of gravity in the cylinder is not located on the axis of the cylinder. In other words, think of a hamster wheel. The hamster stays at the bottom of the wheel due to gravity, but the wheel spins in the direction the hamster is facing because of the force the motor (rodent) is pushing. This means the entire visible structure has to be lighter than the counterweight it’s carrying, or it will flip backwards like you imagine.

  4. Nova says:

    I could not for the life of me figure out the scale of this thing until I realized it was done on a 3d printer and not made of metal.framework.

  5. Als Taxi says:

    If the world were only 2 dim, this would be great.

  6. BlurD says:

    I could definitely see apps for this using BLE and/or xbee/other rf to use it in a 3d spectrum. Those stands seem like they may be more power efficient but the practicality seems less likely with them.

  7. Galane says:

    Steering could be done by shifting the stands’ pivots.

  8. Martin says:

    Ah, right in the childhood. The He-Man Attack Track.

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