We've seen robots play Soccer, Tennis, and Battle Ball, and now Dr. Masaaki Kumagai, director of Tohoku Gakuin University's Robot Development Engineering Laboratory, brings us BallP (or Ball Inverted Pendulum): a 20-inch, 16.5-pound robot that derives its name from the bowling ball that it balances on. Using three omni-directional wheels, the robot can stand still, move in any direction, and pivot along its vertical axis. A combination of motors, micro-step controllers, gyroscopes, and accelerometers allows the thing to carry equipment -- either on its own, or with the help of a human operator (sort of like a high-tech wheel barrow). If anything, it's a lot less intrusive than CMU's Ballbot -- our previous favorite robot butler (yes, in the end it all comes down to who can get us a cold one the fastest). Video after the break.
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