The robot makers at ETH Zurich have developed yet another self-balancing robot Ascento, which usually rolls on two wheels, much the same way you do on a Segway.
Ascento is a two-legged wheeled robot that combines the advantages of two types of robots. It stands on two large wheels, but three-section legs connect them to the body. The combination of wheels and legs allows it to move quickly on flat terrain and to overcome obstacles by jumping.
This wheeled bipedal robot is equipped with proper leg motors, which gives it the power to jump up to 1.3 feet (40 centimeters) into the air. Something that, among other things, allows the robot to climb stairs. The robot has a top speed of about 8 km/h (5 mph) and can roll for about 1.5 hours on a single charge of the battery.
Ascento legs are independent of each other and can be straightened or bent separately. The main part of the work keeping the legs in a stable bent position is performed by torsion springs installed in the connection of the two main leg segments.
With the new version of control algorithms, Ascento, with the same design, has become much more stable and resistant to external interference. The robot now learned to maintain balance at different levels of leg bending. This is most clearly manifested when the wheels of the robot are on surfaces with different heights during movement. Similarly, Ascento continues to maintain balance when one of its legs suddenly “falls” down when moving.
Furthermore, with a new algorithm, the robot manages to react to external influences and stay in an upright position.
The 23 pounds (10.4 kg) Ascento robot can be controlled using gestures controls or a 3D mouse, which is wirelessly connected to the robot. At present, the robot seems to function most like a toy or a “pet robot”.