Balancing Robots

Objective: To create three small 2-wheeled robots which demonstrate how balancing technology works for a Star Wars museum exhibit.

Time period:

Winter 2005 – Fall 2006

I was asked to take over the responsibility of these three robots while working at DEKA R&D. The idea behind these robots is to show how an inverse pendulum works, and to demonstrate the concept behind the Segway PT to kids in an interactive exhibit. The robots were built mainly of parts from the VEX robotic design system, and some other sensors. 


Using known technology, three robots were built for the exhibit. One side effect that had not been planned on was the amount of abuse kids can cause to  equipment; thus, the robots frequently had to be serviced. Overall, the exhibit went off without a hitch.

Current status:
The robots were designed for the Boston Museum of Science “Star Wars” exhibit, which was  turned into a traveling show. You
can view the robots in the show according to the schedule below.

  • COSI, Columbus, OH, June – August 2006
  • Oregon Museum of Sci & Industry, Portland, OR, Oct –
    Dec 2006
  • California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA, February
    – April 2007
  • Museum of Science & History, Fort Worth, TX, June –
    Aug 2007
  • The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA, February –
    April 2008
  • The Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, June –
    Oct 2008


One thought on “Balancing Robots”

  1. I teach a new Robotics I and Robotics II courses this year. For Robotic I we are doing VEX Roboitcs / Carnegie Mellon projects. I’m looking for some Robotics II projects and saw your Balancing Bot while searcing for some projects to do next semester. I saw that it used a VEX Cortex and wheels. Would you have some basic directions for this project, code and also an estimated cost?

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