Self-Balancing Robot Keeps Getting More Features


It’s a lot of fun to see a self-balancing robot project. Rarely do they go much further than being able to keep themselves upright while being piloted remotely and annoyingly shoved by their creator as proof of their ability to remain standing on two wheels. This little anthropomorphic guy is the exception to the rule. It’s the product of [Samuel Matos] who says he didn’t have a specific purpose in mind, but just kept adding features as they came to him.

Starting with a couple of carbon fiber plates [Samuel] cut the design by hand, using stand-offs to mount the NEMA 17 stepper motors and to connect the two halves of the chassis. It looks like he used some leftover material to make a nice little stand which is nice when coding at his desk as seen above. There’s also a carbon-fiber mask which makes up the face atop an articulated neck. It has two ultrasonic range-finding sensors as eyes, and the Raspberry Pi camera module as the nose. The RPi board powerful enough to run OpenCV which has kept [Samuel] busy. He set up a course in his living room containing tags directing where the little guy should go. It can also follow a tennis ball as it rolls around the room. What we found most impressive in the clip after the break is its ability to locate the next tag after making a turn.

[via Adafruit]

18 thoughts on “Self-Balancing Robot Keeps Getting More Features

    1. I also noticed that, and one of the reasons I think is that steppers are power wasters (though I guess it depends on how you drive it) and they are good at holding positions but the positions in a self balancing robot are so fluid that there is nothing to “hold” – it will change in a millisecond.

      There’s at least one thing that’s going for a stepper coupled directly to the wheel though – there’s no play in a gearbox.

  1. Awesome project! I just don’t know why do you call it “anthropomorphic little guy”. Something anthropomorphic is something with human shape and as far as I know humans are a lot different than the awesome robot in the video ;)

    1. It’s a known psychological trait of us, humans. We antropomorphize (a word?) anything as long as at least something in it reminds us of another human being. It has a movable “head” and the ultrasound sensors look like eyes. That and the fact that it stops and “looks around” to find the target is enough to feel like it’s another “being” – a “little guy” indeed. I find it incredibly cute as well :)

      1. I understand your point of view but as a researcher in cognitive robotics I just can’t see it as something antropomorphic. Yes, it has a moving head and “eyes” and a cute behaviour, but so do dogs, cats, flies, elefants, etc. In the scientific community an antropomorphic robot is a humanoid robot. It’s a robot with a morphology/structure similar to that of a human being. I really like the robot, the project and the awesome fine-tuned control of the robot and I’m even proud that it was made by someone from my country, but I just think that “antropomorphic” is not the best way to describe it :)

          1. I don’t see how it looks humanoid, it reminds me a lot of cute little creatures seen on Japanese manga or a cute little robot (kinda wall-e style).

            However, my understanding is that anything can be considered anthropomorphic if it takes on human form or attributes. If the behaviour is human like then that should be enough to say it is anthropomorphic. The dictionary is pretty clear on that.

            Personally I would say it imitates animals, not specifically humans. So maybe anthropomorphic isn’t the best choice. Though I’m not aware of a word like anthropomorphic that means it takes on the form or behaviour of animals.

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