Posted in: SERVO Blog (05/19 at 03:17 PM)
The Balancing Cube
The Balancing Cube can balance on any of its edges or corners. It owes this ability to six rotating mechanisms located on each inner face of the cube. When the mechanisms (simply called modules) are actuated, they exert forces on the cube and shift the center of gravity of the overall system. The modules communicate with each other and coordinate their motion to stabilize the system.
How does it work?
The Balancing Cube is an example of a distributed system. Each of the modules is a self-contained unit with onboard power, sensors, a computer, and a motor that can rotate the module relative to the rigid structure. Each module’s computer solves an estimation problem: the local sensor data is fused with data communicated from the other units to derive an estimate for the orientation of the cube. Commands are sent to the module’s motor based on this estimate, knowledge of other modules’ states, and a control law. Even though each module makes its own computations, through the joint action of all modules the cube is balanced.