Two-Wheel Balancing Robot Revived from the Dead


[Jouni] built a pretty nice little two-wheeled robot a while back — but he never got it working quite right. Taking inspiration and a bit of opensource code from another hacker featured here, he’s finished the bot, and it works great!

After seeing [Jose's] 3D printed Air Hockey bot, he poked around the creator’s blog and discovered the B-Robot, a 3D printed, two-wheeled, stepper driven, balancing robot. As it turned out, it was incredibly similar to a robot [Jouni] had made himself previously!

[Jouni's] robot features two NEMA-17 steppers, a 12v 2200mAh battery pack, an Arduino Pro Mini, a MPU6050 gyro and a FrSky receiver. Lucky for him, [Jose's] B-Robot made use of the same steppers and gyro! Using some of [Jose's] code from his GitHub, [Jouni] was able to bring new life into his little robot!

We’ve included videos of both the original project, and [Jouni's] version. Aren’t opensource projects awesome?

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Your robot stand-in has arrived

Meet TIPI, the Telepresence Interface by Pendulum Inversion. TIPI is something of a surrogate, giving physical presence to telecommuters by balancing an LCD screen and camera atop its six foot frame. The user has full control of the robot’s movement, with their own camera image shown on the display so that others interacting with the bot will with whom they are conversing.

A pair of 12.5″ wheels connec to DC motors via a gear box with a 37:1 ratio. These specs are necessary to recover from a sudden 20 degree loss of equilibrium, quite impressive for a bot of this stature. An Orangutan SVP board monitors a two-axis accelerometer and a gyroscope for accurate positioning data. This board automatically keeps balance, while taking user commands from a second control, a Beagle Board. The Beagle Board handles the communications, including sending and receiving the video signals, and delivering incoming position control data to the Orangutan. Separating the two systems guards against a screen-shattering fall by making sure the hardware likely to face slow-down or lockup is physically separate from that responsible for balance.

Check out the video clip after the brake to see some balancing goodness. It shouldn’t be hard to build your own version for much less than the $15k price tag enjoyed by some commercial versions.

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Balancing one wheel scooter

Fresh off the tip line, [Ben] sent in his one wheeled balancing scooter. It’s a nice simple design – I just might have to build one myself. The steel frame surrounds a pair of 12V 12Ah SLA batteries, a 400w 24v DC motor, one of the ever handy OSMC motor controllers, rate gyro, accelerometer and a PIC 16F876A. I love the entire concept! (For some reason, I’m thinking it needs a brake light on the rear…

Check out the video after the cut. He walks through the hardware at the end.

By the way, Eliot and I’ll be at Shmoocon in a couple of weeks. We won’t have boards from the Design Challenge yet, but we should have something to give away to people who find us there.

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