Hopping, tread-balancing, and ball-balancing vehicles

A key goal of our lab is to develop small, simple, robust vehicles that can overcome large, complex obstacles using dynamic models, vision-based situational awareness, and feedback.
We have prototyped and patented a number of novel mechanisms for such vehicles, including

  1. practical all-terrain treaded vehicles that can self-upright onto the ends of their treads (SwitchBlade), thereby significantly extending their reach to overcome large obstacles,

  2. maximally-efficient single-leg hopping designs (iHop), which are probably of practical interest primarily in low-gravity environments (e.g., asteroid exploration), and

  3. mass-manufacturable micro ball-balancing robots (Zip), which move gracefully and organically, and can spin quickly.