The Blind Juggler

[vimeo =]

The Blind Juggler is a robot that juggles or bounces balls in a controlled manner without any sensory input. It is basically just a linear actuator with a paddle on the end to smack the ball back into the air as it returns to the ground. The crazy thing is, it is doing this based purely on pre programmed math. There are no sensors telling it to make any adjustments. While we could envision this functioning, we would never have expected it to be as stable as it is. You can see in the video above that they can actually move the entire robot around while maintaining the bounce. Also check out the pendulum version, instead of just actuating vertically, it is mounted as a pendulum allowing the ball to travel back and forth in an arc.

[via BotJunkie]

19 thoughts on “The Blind Juggler

  1. Aha, so it accomplishes this seemingly impossible task by using a concave paddle that forces the ball to remain centered, and plain old physics calculations to ensure that (ideally) the paddle is decelerating when it hits the ball. A ball that bounced too low last time will hit the paddle when it is still moving faster. A ball that bounced too high last time will hit the paddle when it is moving slower.

    Very clever indeed. It needs an Arduino, though.

  2. I think it just goes to show that people are normally very lazy and resort to some sort of micro for control (*cough* Ard-bl00dy-uino) when they don’t need to.
    Remember kids: maths solves everything.

  3. Wow, that is one small and hard to see ball.

    Interesting to see that they used that expensive aluminum extrusion stuff for the frame. Way stiffer than the application needed, but they presumably had it laying around.

  4. It’s pretty cool I guess.

    I don’t think it’s that great though, not great enough for it to get it’s own domain anyway.

    I guess I’m more of a person for useful or hardcore hacks.

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