Let's Make Robots!

Idea: A simple way of doing balancing

I was just cleaning up my desk (a little anyway), and found myself sitting with the guts from a servo.

In essense I had:

A potmeter. If it was turned to one side, a motor would turn to one side, and vise versa. A little turning = a slow motor, hard turn = fast motor.

Hmm.. interesting..

Now, what if I was not turning this potmeter, but a simple spinning disc, acting like a simple gyroscope was attached to it?

Then if the whole thing was tilting in one direction, a motor.. OR a complete servo (with guts taken out) would turn to one direction.

Hmm.. That could make the base of some very simple form of balancing something!

But I will never get the time to make that. I hope you will :)

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One of the members of our robot club built a large bi-ped robot back in the 80's and he built his own ballance sensor. He used small clear plastic tubing with a BB in it and sealed on the ends. He had a series of photo-interruptors positioned with the tube going down the slot so the BB would block the light beam depending on the tilt. He may have had something like mineral oil in the tube also to dampen the operation.

I would think an improvement could be made by eliminating the BB, adding some black dye to the mineral oil, and just leave an air bubble in the tube. Theoretically, the clear air bubble would allow the light to pass, turning on the photo-interruptor where the bubble was.

Just thinking out loud......

I started playing with this idea of using a pot to balance a robot tonight. I think this is something i will try.

Wicked!

I think using a weight such as the batteries as a pendulum is the easiest approach although it might need some dampening (friction added) so it doesn't swing too much.

Perhaps you can use a joystick from one of those game controllers as a two axis pot with two servo control boards added.

The only problem I can forsee is that the servo controllers are affected slightly by temperature so on a cold day your robot might lean to the left and on a hot day it will lean to the right.

Hey, maybe it does not even have to be a spinning disc that is attached; If it is simply the batteries hanging in some form of inbendable stick, they will keep pointing down.. and then if the robot is falling over, it can compencate with the servo.

Hmm..