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China’s First Self-Balancing Unicycle Robot

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).

[sources: Beijing Today (CN)] & [CNWest (CN)] & [Xinhua (CN)]

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Image credit:
Beijing Today | Xinhua | Spring Design

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