Pendulum robot gets in the swing

14 October 2008

Two-wheel inverted pendulum robot is the result of a partnership.

STMicroelectronics and the Waseda University Humanoid Robotics Institute (HRI) have developed a high-performance two-wheel inverted pendulum robot, called WV-1 (Waseda wheeled Vehicle-No.1), which is the first result of an ongoing cooperation for the research and development of technology and solutions for innovative humanoid robots and medical-care robot systems.

ST and HRI are co-operating to use leading-edge semiconductor know-how to promote the speedier development of innovative ‘humanoids’ and medical-care robotic systems, involving researchers and development engineers from both ST and HRI. ST will become a supplier to HRI for semiconductor products, while also furnishing HRI with the leading-edge semiconductor prototypes on a cost-free basis, making it possible for HRI to conduct advanced evaluations of possible humanoid and medical-care robotic applications. In addition, future cooperation between ST and HRI is expected to include the establishment of an ST-sponsored scholarship system for HRI students.

“With expectations running high for the growth of humanoid and medical-care robotic systems markets, semiconductor-fueled innovation is an extremely important field,” said Marco Cassis, Corporate Vice President and President of STMicroelectronics K.K., ST’s subsidiary in Japan. “By combining HRI’s globally renowned breakthroughs in robotics and ST’s highly advanced know-how in semiconductor technology, we are confident in our ability to accelerate technological innovation in humanoid robotics and medical-care robot systems. We are very pleased to announce the development of this robot, in addition to our cooperative relationship with HRI, the first that ST has established with a Japanese university.”

The WV-1 is a two-wheeled robot on which a pole with weights is installed in an inverted fashion on a pedestal. A feedback system, controlled with the STM32, ST’s ARM® Cortex™-M3 based 32-bit MCU and the LIS344ALH 3-axis digital acceleration sensor, allows the robot to move while maintaining its balance. The MCU rapidly computes the angle of robot body incline, angular velocity and other sensor data, enabling the motor to constantly generate optimum torque, which allows the robot to continue moving smoothly without tipping over. Potential applications for this inverted pendulum robot control technology include postural control functions for humanoids and other devices, realising new means of mobility.

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