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ETH scientists create one-wheel robot that balances with only a single reaction wheel

Robotics specialists from a group led by ETH professor Raffaello D’Andrea have created a new, cube-​shaped robot that can balance on its pivot and compensate for external disturbances.

What makes the One-​Wheel Cubli unique? Unlike its predecessors, it only requires a single reaction wheel.

It was almost ten years ago that researchers led by ETH robotics professor Raffaello D’Andrea made a splash with a robotic cube that was capable of balancing on its pivot.

Multiple reaction wheels in the cube’s interior were able to compensate for disturbances to a certain degree, making it harder to knock off balance. It was also able to jump up and move around via controlled falls.

Now it has a successor: the One-​Wheel Cubli. That’s the name D’Andrea’s workshop gave to this new balancing artist. It only requires a single reaction wheel for its balancing act.

Instead of additional wheels, it is equipped – like a tightrope walker – with a balancing pole. As a result, the inertias differ in the two directions of motion, allowing the One-​Wheel Cubli to stabilize both directions simultaneously.

In the latest issue of Mechatronics, the researchers introduce the One-​Wheel Cubli.

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