Aido is a robot to be used at home, and that has its own constraints. Aido would have to navigate around objects like chairs & tables. He would have to change direction easily as it moved around obstacles at home.
Aido balances on an omnidirectional ball – a ballbot design.
- Balancing Aido on a single ball means it is easy to spin around a central axis, so turning Aido around is much simpler.
- With a single ball base, Aido is able to move out of the way quickly if it bumps into something.
- By balancing forces between Aido’s body and the ball, Aido can navigate floors & even carpets.
With software, we can make sure Aido is balanced when at rest or when moving.
Aido is never really still, even when it is standing. It constantly equilibrates by slowly revolving the ball underneath its centre of gravity.
Aido uses a similar mechanism.
Aido counters sudden changes to its balance (a tilt of more than 8 degrees) with a set of retractable legs that spring out from the base to prevent it from keeling over. Push Aido, and the legs will spring out to provide immediate support. Aido will quickly try to stabilize by itself and draw the legs back in.
When Aido is stationary for a long time, it uses the legs to support itself. The legs also offer support when Aido is charging.
Note: The first ballbot was developed in 2006 at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in the USA. Another ballbot was developed at Tohoku Gakuin University (TGU) in Japan and a third one as a student project 2009 at the University of Adelaide (UA) in Australia.