How many wheels do you expect to find on a robot? Three? Four? Sometimes, they have more, such as when they’re designed to travel over (alien) terrain.
But how many robots have you seen with just two wheels, side-by-side?
Such a device is known as a “balance bot” and, as you can see in the accompanying video, they’re programmed to not fall over. After all, what use is a robot that’s stuck on the floor? Balance bots have been around for a while, and are so-called because they stay upright while moving, in a manner not dissimilar to a Segway, by adjusting the angle of travel.
Electromaker Türkay Biliyor has developed this Raspberry Pi 3-controlled balance bot, which he’s named “BalanceRobot Raspberry Pi 3”. With code developed in C++, and a remote controller running on Android (written in Android Studio), the components of the device are quite limited in range. Along with the Pi, the BalanceRobot relies on a battery holder (and suitable batteries), two DC motors, a Raspberry Pi motor driver board, and an MPU6050 6-axis motion-tracking device. This combines a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis accelerometer, which Türkay writes is best placed in the lower section, between the motors.
Türkay Biliyor isn’t alone in creating a balance bot. However, there is a certain elegance in the approach, which is far lighter on components than many of the alternatives we’ve seen recently. Fancy making your own? Well, don’t worry too much about having to use a Raspberry Pi. Several such builds currently doing the rounds rely on an Arduino instead.
Like many other makers, Türkay has submitted his BalanceRobot project to ElectroMaker’s Connectivity Contest, so you can find out more by browsing the project page. You’ll also find a link to the GitHub page where further details can be found.