This robot may not look like much—it is, after all, just a cube—but despite its simple geometry, it's capable of balancing, jumping, and even walking.
Built by Mohanarajah Gajamohan at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, we came across Cubli earlier this year. But since, it's become a little more advanced, and can now jump and walk as well as just balance. Gajamohan explains how the 15 cm cube works:
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'.
It's an impressive feat for what looks to the casual observer to be little more than a glorified box. [Cubli]