Self Balancing Robot in FIRST (plausible? possible? preferable?)

Well, I can’t imagine this hasn’t been talked about before, but extensive searching of the CD archives yeilds nothing (don’t bother linking to a thread I didn’t find, because I’ve already started this one by-golly so we might as well talk about it.)

I know some teams have built quasi-functional self-blancing devices (“transporters”) using the FIRST kit motors, so apparently they do have enough torque. And I’m certain that the FIRST PICs are up to the job. So is there something I’m missing? Some crippling inadequacy? Has someone done it? Any ideas why not?

In doing research of past games I realize now that many of them would make a self-balancing robot a poor design choice. This year, however, could have been an exception. And besides, you’d think someone would do it for the “Because I $@#$@#$@#$@#-well-can” factor.

It just seems odd that in a competition started by Mr.Segway himself, no one has gone for the inverted pendulum design. It would certainly be manueverable, if implemented correctly, though I’m not certain about climbing. It would also be able to reach very high without tipping, as compared to other designs.

I haven’t got a doubt in my mind that you could make a self balancing robot. I know of several home-brew Segways people have made using the kit of parts.

As for actual robots though, I believe teams probably haven’t bothered because it is kind’ve useless (in most ways that is). Yes… it is highly maneuverable… but a omni or crab drive system is much more maneuverable. As for pushing ability, I’m doubting you’ll see much from that because it takes alot to keep it balanced so alot of the drive power is going into this balancing mechanism. Plus you would need height clearance to give it some room to move back and forth a bit without scraping the ground. Also you must keep in mind… what will the robot do when it is shut off before the match? If you want to have it fit inside of the maximum dimensions… you would have to use a pneumatic kickstand or something to keep it straight up, or else it will be leaning back till it powers up (and then will need even more time to balance itself… wasting autonomous time). I mean, you COULD make a self-balancing robot like a Segway… however it’s probably going to be just a pretty robot driving around, because the resources needed to keep the system up at the beginning… the programming time… the self-balance turn-on time… pushing ability against another bot… it needs ground clearance under the body of the robot with the wheels so you lose some height to work with in the envelope… and it isnt as maneuverable as crab or omni because it acts like a tank robot by having to turn to go in that direction and not be able to stay facing a certain direction (making it harder to use accessories on the robot to perform tasks). To me it seems like a waste, but then again… you never know when a game might need this, I just don’t see that scenario having much of a chance of happening.

I agree, so far in most games it would not have been practicle. Sure it would be a awsome post season project but I dont see a way it could be very good in any of the FIRST games we have played.

From someone who now has a segway for the entire summer I would say the motors in the kits are not powerfull enough to provide balance to a human. Sure you might be able to get it to stand up-right and maybe move back and forth a bit, but the motors in the segway are 2hp each! Thats a LOT of power, and trust me you need it. If you are going to have any kind of speed limiter or something of that nature you will need good batteries and strong motors. The FIRST kits just dont provide that.

Also, the segway has 5 gyros- Most likely your machine will only have one. I have noticed that from time to time the gyros in the segway get a bit confused or “dizzy” and make the machine tilt at weird angles. With 1 gyro my guess would be that it would have much more of a chance to get “dizzy”

Short answer= Yes its possible, but if you value your face I would not ride a “segway from FIRST kit” segway all that heavily.

A self-balancing robot sure sounds tempting :). Just considering how many tasks have to be accomplished in the two minutes, however, I think many teams would like to concentrate on functions that would be geared toward those tasks, and keep their drive at least somewhat simple. But still, it’s tempting!

I know the TechnoKats robot had a self-balencing mechanism to balence on the bridge in 2001. From what I remember it used one gyro and a lot of programing. If sure, of course, you have already seen something on their robot that year. You may want to look here. Hope this kind of helps.

Well, the 2001 game could use a self-balancing robot for the bridge part… and if the bridge came back that would be a great idea… but for an entire robot to be self-balancing with it’s drive system seems impractical. I also know that Team 71 had a self-balancing system that was very good for the 2001 game.

yeah their trick was…don’t try to balance yourself…the goals pretty well balanced themselves as long as you could get em up there with a little space in between…

I thought i heard of a self-balancing motorcycle in that Great DARPA Challenge…i saw it on TechTV…it went a good distance before falling…

We kicked around the idea. We even bought the two gyros at the beginning of build season. In the end we ran out of time and man power, and scrapped the entire system of getting on the bar. As a rookie team, we should have just tried to make things simple, and made sure our drive train was working first.

I read about that cycle in Car and Driver…if we’re talking about the same bike, they reported a distance of three feet.

If you had a robot on a ramp that could tilt- and the robot had 4 wheels it would be a lot easier to balance the ramp than if you made a robot with 2 wheels and went with the inverted pendulum design.

Anybody remember when Dean used the IBot to balance the bridge at Nationals in 2001? It did it with no effort at all… he just drove up to about the middle of the bridge, it moved a couple of inches, and balanced. One of the coolest things I’ve seen in FIRST… made all that effort teams put into balancing look like a breeze. Then again, the IBot had something like 9 gyros on it. I’d also be interested to see how a Segway would balance on the bridge from 2001. Has anyone tried that, by chance?

I am going to go try to build something like that now, I will post the video later today