Cubli is the latest invention made by the scientists of the ETH Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. A metallic cube like robot that measures not more than 15 cm on its sides, Cubli is capable of sitting, balancing itself on its corner and even jumping and walking. Give it a slight nudge or let it fall and watch Cubli control its own balance in the process.
Containing 3 spinning reaction wheels within the cube, a motor, motor controller and a sensor, the Cubli is nothing more than a high tech toy temporarily. However, scientists consider this new technology as a solid foundation for the development of newer robots. Planetary exploration and other data exploration can be made possible if further technological creations are made based on Cubli itself.
The rotors and wheels within the cube make it function in such an interesting manner and give it the necessary centrifugal force for its balance. The cube uses special technology to control its speed of falling thereby defying gravity and literally hopping onto surfaces. The sensor located within the cube enables data monitoring and calculation for the reaction wheels to move accordingly thereby keeping Cubli in a balanced position.
When walking, Cubli props itself up onto its edge as the reaction wheel perpendicular to the resting edge starts spinning and repeats this process in reverse to move about. The three reaction wheels and their movements are thus an essential part in determining the direction of movement of this high-tech device. Sudden brakes on the wheels enable the cube to jump on its own and the motors installed within it provide it with the necessary torque for self-balance. Cubli’s balancing capabilities have even earned it the moniker of a gravity defying cube.
Comparisons have been drawn with MIT’s self-assembling M-blocks because of the potential of Cubli for usage in planetary explorations. However, the Cubli has to be developed further if it needs to be put into constructive scientific use.