PORTLAND, Ore. A two-wheeled, inverted pendulum robot that demonstrates posture control in robots that must balance was shown at Ceatac Japan by Waseda University's Humanoid Robotics Institute and industry partner STMicroelectronics.
The autonomous robot is the result of ST's first cooperative development effort with a Japanese university. ST will supply the Institute with chips and free access to advanced electronic prototypes. The Japanese institute specializes in designing humanoid robots for the home and medical applications.
The effort aims to "accelerate technological innovation in humanoid robotics and medical care robot systems," according to Marco Cassis, president of ST's subsidiary in Japan.
The robot, called WV-1, balances its upright center pole with a two-wheeled pedestal that rolls back and forth to keep the pole upright. Using electronic feedback from an ST MEMS device, a three-axis accelerometer mounted atop the pole, a 32-bit ARM-based microcontroller independently controls each wheel motor.
After calculating the angle of the pole's incline and its angular velocity, the microcontroller feeds control signals to the motors, allowing the robot to smoothly balance the pole while moving.
The WV-1 will serve as the basis for subsystems that control posture for the Japanes institute's mobile humanoid robots. The Institute plans to develop mobile humanoid robots based on the WV-1 prototype for nursing care, medical treatment, food inspection and environmental monitoring.