Legless Robot has a Ball
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have come up with a tall skinny robot that gets around on a single large ball. Ballbot, as it has inevitably been called, shown here with its creator, Robotics Research Professor Ralph Hollis, is faster and more manoeuvrable than legged or wheeled robots and work is underway to add a head and arms, to further improve stability. The ball balancing technology, which uses a PC to interpret messages from motion sensors and drive motorised rollers in contact with the ball, has been described as an ‘inverse ball-mouse drive’ (you’ll get the idea if you remove the ball from an old ball type computer mouse…). When it is not trundling around it rests on three retractable legs.