Back in November 2011 Prof. Xiao-Gang Ruan and six graduate students from the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Research Institute of the Beijing University of Technogy demonstrated a cute self-balancing unicycle robot at the Beijing museum. It was one of a handful of student projects on display at the Creative Bazaar during the sixth annual Beijing International Cultural and Creative Industry Expo. Many of the projects on display, such as single-passenger electric vehicles, emphasized environmental concerns. Other projects included a saucer-shaped drone aircraft, and art installations.
Although it is not the only self-balancing unicycle robot in the world (see Murata Girl), it is a first for China. The robot is capable of balancing at a fixed point, can move forward and backward, and can compensate for external disturbances. Its developers say the robot can also navigate a balance beam, but this feat was not part of its public demonstration.
For now it’s purely an entertainment robot, but it could be used as a guide, to transport goods, or perform security patrols. The look of the robot was produced in collaboration with Spring Design, a company which produces product designs for multinational corporations like Panasonic (see some conceptual renderings after the break).
Beijing Today | Xinhua | Spring Design