BalBot - Anyone seen this?

Interesting 2 wheel balancing robot kits:

Basic Version: http://www.scientificsonline.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_3096104

Advanced Version: http://www.scientificsonline.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_3096105

Has anyone seen these before? I searched the forums for “BalBot” and nothing came up so don’t jump me if these have been discussed at length before. I have never seen them before and was wondering what folks think about them?

Edit: The BalBot Company: http://www.balbots.com/

Looks interesting, but what does it do?

That’s what I am wondering.

It says it just rolls around and can be used for educational programming purposes, but I don’t see anything on the site about pratical uses.

I think they are supposed to be a starting point sort of like our KitBot. Of course you can’t ride it like a Segway but it seems interesting to me. Sort of like nBot: http://www.geology.smu.edu/~dpa-www/robo/nbot/ I am wondering if they are well built and actually balance well. It looks like the factory has had a fire so orders are at a standstill for now. Maybe someone on CD has played with one and can let us know their opinions of it??? It seems nice that you can buy just the frame if you want and add your own balance electronics or buy the “basic” balancing one and later upgrade to the “advanced” options to allow user programming in C.

there is none. We saw some at RoboNexus in 2004 and asked the designers about it. They said it’s just an educational platform for programming, etc. you can mount a good host of sensors on the vertical rails and give it all sorts of navigation capabilities, but it doesn’t have the support to actually hold any sort of actuator mechanisms. It can wear hats tho!

It uses infrared sensors pointed at the ground to balance rather than gyros. It can’t travel on an incline. That seems to limit it’s usefulness to me.

If it can’t go on an incline, then it makes me wonder how easily it would tip if pushed. Still, it’s an interesting idea, and one I’m willing to bet will make it’s way into one team’s robot design one of these years (after being worked on quite a bit, no doubt).

I’m not sure that it would serve a useful purpose in F.I.R.S.T. game play, no matter what the game was.

With that being said, however, it seems to me that it could be an useful tool for programmers who want more experience with coding unconventional robots.

So would these sensors give you an actual distance from the ground at two ends of your bot? If so I believe it could be programmed. There would have to be some tricky stuff done with when you’re changing from flat to inclined. I’m no expert programmer, but I have some ideas.

Probably.
Why else would they have sensors there?

Wait…FIRST members interested in something with dare i say practical applications? nearly sacrilegious to the theme of FIRST

In that lucid realization that all things practical are left to the Lego league kids
(well rescuing plastic block mammalia and returning them into the magical world of aqua blue plastic is debatable) but none the less entertaining

my first thought was “well why not ride it?”

heh…Kamen’s already WAAAAAY ahead of them…not to mention it’s awfully small (think 5"x8" footprint)