Here’s a piece of news that will definitely transport our readers to the corridors of FD2 where A4-ites showcase their carefully built projects during APOGEE. Umashankar Nagarajan, a Mechanical Engineering student graduated from those very corridors in 2007 to being part of a team that is revolutionizing the field of robotics today. Armed with his Mechanical Engineering degree from BITS, Pilani, he went on to do his MS from the highly esteemed Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg.
Today he is a PhD student at The Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. He works with Prof. Ralph Hollis and Dr. George Kantor on ‘Dynamically Stable Mobile Robots’ with special emphasis on a robot called “Ballbot”. Aptly named, this robot moves on a single spherical wheel.
Most of us may overlook the immense innovation behind this revolutionary idea for robot mobility. However, Ballbot is the first of his kind, venturing into a terrain previously inhabited only by his multi-wheeled cousins. Ballbot’s researchers proclaimed in a preliminary experiment paper, “One is enough!” Ballbot is tall enough to interact meaningfully with people and can cope with collision. So someday not too long from now, Ballbot may be able to carry and fetch things or help the disabled.
BallBot has been receiving his fair share of fame, being featured in the September issue of Popular Science and being discussed at tech-forums and on gadget shows all over the world. Check out the links below to see him action.