The Personal Mobility Robot (PMR) has a chair for a passenger and balances on two wheels like a Segway. Now the clever folks at the University of Tokyo have added Wii remote control to the platform in a full-sized version of the Segwii. We understand that adding Wiimote control to anything isn’t exactly groundbreaking at this point. That being said, if using stock hardware can increase the quality of the user interface on something like a wheelchair, while decreasing the production cost at the same time, we’re all for it.
[XenonJon] got a lot of attention for a skateboard/segway style balancing platform he took to the Makerfaire in Newcastle. He decided to try to build it the cheapest and easiest possible way in an attempt to help others build their own. The build is documented very well, however you have to email him to request the code for the Arduino. Maybe after enough requests, he’ll just pop it online. We thought this looked familiar, so we searched the archive and found this very similar setup from back in 2005. Unfortunately, that project page appears to be gone now.
[Guus] screwed together this coffee table which doubles as a scale. No welding was required to put it together – just some bolts, pulleys, miscellaneous fittings, and an original design. The weight is indicated through the (unlabeled) position of the counterweight arm. Currently it is limited to measuring 10kg (22 pounds), but can easily be boosted by adding a heavier counterweight. It looks pretty robust, maintenance-free, and fitting for any living room workshop’s weighing needs. [Guus] is also the proud inventor of the rock radio, and he is working on creating Man-Y-Man: a modular play system allowing children to create up to 1520 unique creatures.
[Matt Cutts], head developer for google’s anti spam team, describes how to attach a Wii balance board to a linux computer. He even shows how to make a GUI to show the input. The entire project is done in about 200 lines of python.The process assumes that you can already make a bluetooth connection to a WiiMote, but if you can’t, he’s got instructions for that too.
[Frits] sent us the SwiitBoard, an improvised version of the Wii balance board. He wanted to be able to do something a little higher impact than he could on the Wii balance board, and required more space to do it in too. Using two different kinds of foam and a piece of plywood, he put together the SwiitBoard. We’re not completely clear on how he is handling direction control. He states that it is derived from gforce.x. Can anyone clarify? Stay tuned after the break for a video of his demo software.
It might not be as elegant or technologically-advanced as a Segway or a motorized unicycle, but this easily constructed 2-wheeled robot might be a fun project for a free afternoon. The heart of the balancing mechanism is an SPDT switch with a button cell attached that reverses the motor when the robot begins to tip in one direction. It’s not controllable and it tends to fall over quite a bit, but it’s a good starting point and could be refined by lowering the center of gravity or figuring out a simple way to change the motor speed based on how far the robot has tipped over. There are no accelerometers or tilt switches so the components could be sourced from a parts bin, and its simple design definitely leaves a lot of room for improvement.