By David Ponce
Never underestimate the power of untapped potential. While the Ballbot might not look like it’s doing much (balancing itself on one ball and rolling back and forth, willy-nilly) we are confident that the robot is simply the first few steps in what may be a whole new way for the bots to interact with us. Matter of fact, this is the main reason it was developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon, and as such might be considered exploratory research in robotic locomotion, rather than commercial prototype.
The research was prompted by the realization that no matter how complex today’s robots are getting, they still usually move like a drunkard on acid. They compensate for their lack of stability by widening their base, which makes them less practical in a human environment. The Ballbot is at the very least the potential preliminary answer to this problem.
For a video demonstration of the bot being pushed around, come right inside.