Due to recent innovations and developments in engineering it is now possible to create robots and vehicles that can balance on two parallel wheels. While it is simple for vehicles such as bicycles and motorcycles to balance on two wheels while in motion, it is difficult for vehicles to balance where the wheels are aligned parallel to one another. The same principles apply for balancing two-wheeled vehicles whether the wheels are on the same axis or parallel, they just need to be taken into consideration and applied differently. Since two-‐wheeled vehicles are naturally unstable, external forces must be applied to keep them balanced. While the potential of two-‐wheeled vehicles where the wheels are on the same axis has already been realized, it has yet to be fully explored for vehicles where the wheels are parallel to one another. There are many possibilities for these types of vehicles and robots. So far they only exist for human transportation and proof of concept purposes.
Two-wheeled robots have several advantages over their four‐wheeled counterparts that would make them more suitable for a variety of applications. They can turn with no radius for better operation in confined spaces. They can be simpler, smaller, and lighter structurally and because of this, consume less power. There are many potential applications these robots would perform better in that have yet to be explored. Since there are so many possible uses and not many current two-‐wheeled robots in use there is a large prospective market to be explored.
This project set out to use an existing two-wheeled self balancing robot and add additional functionality to it for a general item distribution application. It was necessary to repair and stabilize the robot prior to adding functionality. The new functionality included making the robot avoid obstacles using a sensor as well as adding light and sound indicators.
This project sought to make use of available resources at Shanghai University to add functionality to an existing two-wheeled robot for a specific application. Previous research has been conducted at Shanghai University on the principles of two‐wheeled self balancing robots. Due to this research two robots were available for us to use for this project, although both were not fully functional. We decided to focus on a general item distribution application for adding additional features to a robot using the resources available to us. These functions included avoiding obstacles and indicating the robots status. Additionally, some team members were to focus on researching existing control algorithms and demonstrating the robots assembly visually.
Attached project report will cover the background research conducted on two‐wheel self-balancing robots as well as the purpose, objectives, design details, and potential future work of this project.
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