We are testing different drive systems for our social robot. A ballbot is a nice way to give an upright robot a comparatively small footprint. Think, for example, of Pepper’s cantilevered tripod. It needs a lot of room to maneuver in living areas. There’s another advantage: tall robots with conventional drives on three or four wheels quickly run into problems with inclined planes and uneven ground because they are very prone to tipping.
But what really excites us is that such a ballbot naturally allows very agile and lively locomotion, which fits perfectly with our expressive robot character.
Nevertheless, it is of course a challenge to make such a drive suitable for everyday use. But our whole endeavor is a single challenge on a wide variety of technical and design levels, and we just love challenges! Stay tuned.