Spherical robots , or in this case RC vehicles are pretty versatile. They travel about the same on most terrains, including water in some cases. That’s not to say that they travel particularly well on those terrains though. The common problem is that they can’t really climb over bumps very well, until now. We’ve seen a few versions of sphere bots, but they all seem to need fairly level smooth surfaces, aside from that one that went in the water. We hadn’t seen any that really had the oomph necessary to climb stairs though. Actually, we still haven’t seen that, but he says it can in the interview you can watch after the break.
[prabbit22m] has written an instructable on how to build a radio controlled sphere. The mechanism is fairly simple, with one drive motor, one servo and a gyro for stability. To turn, the servo shifts the center of gravity off to one side. You can see that the system works pretty well in the video above. If it didn’t have that gyro, it would be insane, believe us, we’ve done our own experimenting. If you like this, but want more features, check out this one that has a camera and takes pictures wherever it goes. We can’t forget Swarm either. The autonomous swarm of robot spheres. Of coarse [prabbit22m] might have the best idea of all. Dress it up as a regular ball to mess with people.
SWARM has been showing up at a number of places. Until now, the mysterious spheres have been under human control. However, the SWARM has taken the first steps to autonomous control. The SWARM is a kinetic art project consisting of several large self-propelled metallic spheres that interact with each other and their environment. Each orb in the swarm is fitted out with a processor, GPS, accelerometers, and Zigbee wireless communications. The entire project is open source. Slated to appear at the 2008 Burning Man festival, the orbs will use their GPS to wander within a specified area, keeping themselves “in bounds”.