Péter Fankhauser: Meet Rezero, the dancing ballbot
Onstage at TEDGlobal, Péter Fankhauser demonstrates Rezero, a robot that balances on a ball. Designed and built by a group of engineering students, Rezero is the first ballbot made to move quickly and gracefully -- and even dance.
Péter Fankhauser - Roboticist Péter Fankhauser is the leader of a team of students working on Rezero, a robot that balances on a single sphere. Full bio
Let me introduce to you Rezero.
This little fellow was developed
by a group of 10 undergraduate students
at the Autonomous Systems Laboratory
Our robot belongs to a family of robots
Instead of wheels, a Ballbot is balancing
and moving on one single ball.
The main characteristics of such a system is
that there's one sole contact point to the ground.
Péter Fankhauser - Roboticist Péter Fankhauser is the leader of a team of students working on Rezero, a robot that balances on a single sphere.
Why you should listen
Mechanical engineer Péter Fankhauser is leading a large team of student engineers and designers at the Swiss federal institute of technology in Zurich who are building a robot that balances and drives on a single sphere. Other roboticists have explored this idea, of stabilizing a robot on a ball, but what Fankhauser and his fellow students hoped to do was make it dance. “Adding dynamics was definitely one of our goals,” he says.
Working with researchers including Michael Neunert and Thomas Kammermann, the team has produced Rezero, a ballbot prototype that can slalom around, resist toppling up to 17 degrees off vertical, and inspire myriad uses. Designed for high acceleration, it moves in an organic and even elegant way. Fankhauser has started graduate studies in mechanical engineering this fall with a focus on robotics, control and construction.
He says of Rezero: "He wants to demonstrate what he can do, as if he was saying, ‘Backwards, forwards. I can do it all. Look at me!'"