We’ve seen robots that move about using wheels, two legs, four legs and even ones that slither like snakes. The Cubli can move despite being just a cube. Actually it does have wheels, but they’re inside its body.
The Cubli was developed by researchers at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, led by Gajamohan Mohanarajah and Dr. Raffaello D’Andrea. It has three wheels powered by a small electric motor, a three-axis accelerometer, a three-axis gyroscope, a servo for braking and a STM3210E microcontroller.
By taking advantage of angular momentum and torque reaction, the 5.9 cu.in. cube can jump from a stable position, then stop and balance itself on one of its edges or even one of its corners. It can keep balancing even if you push or disturb the surface that it’s on. It can also be commanded to fall in a particular direction. By performing all three actions successively – jumping up, balancing and falling – the Cubli can be made to move around. It cannot speak though. At least not yet.