Meet Cubli – An engineering masterpiece (in a cube shape that is) that can jump up on its edges, balance on its angles and walk on its sides, all by itself!
The Cubli is a 15 × 15 × 15 cm cube that can jump up and balance on its own corners. Sounds straight out of sci-fi movies but its real.
How does it work? Well, here’s the engineer’s explanation.
Reaction wheels mounted on three faces of the cube rotate at high angular velocities and then brake suddenly, causing the Cubli to jump up. Once the Cubli has almost reached the corner stand up position, controlled motor torques are applied to make it balance on its corner. In addition to balancing, the motor torques can also be used to achieve a controlled fall such that the Cubli can be commanded to fall in any arbitrary direction. Combining these three abilities — jumping up, balancing, and controlled falling — the Cubli is able to ‘walk’.
Cubli is designed and developed by lead researchers: Gajamohan Mohanarajah and Raffaello D’Andrea of the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, ETH Zurich, Switzerland and was funded in part by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), grant number 146717.