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Robotic unicycle

The problem of "riding" a robotic unicycle whilst balancing it in three dimensions is an interesting problem in robotics and control theory.

Note: the term "unicycle" is also sometimes used in robotics to mean a two-wheeled vehicle moving in a two-dimensional world: this article is about normal one-wheeled bicycles, albeit with robotic riders.

A physically realisable unicycle, in this sense, is a nonholonomic system[?]. This is a system in which a return to the original internal (wheel) configuration does not guarantee return to the original system (unicycle) position. In other words, the system outcome is path-dependent.

The theoretical work on the unicycle problem is complemented by work on the construction of actual mechanically ridden unicycles. (need reference here: the work was Japanese/Russian, I believe)

This is a stub article: more is needed to be written on this subject that is both amusing and mathematically interesting (and potentially a laboratory for some important problems).

See also:


  • S. V. Ulyanov et. al. Soft computing for the intelligent robust control of a robotic unicycle with a new physical measure for mechanical controllability. Soft Computing Volume 2 Issue 2 (1998) pp 73-88.
  • Zenkov, DV, AM Bloch, and JE Marsden [1999] Stabilization of the Unicycle with Rider. Proc. CDC 38, 3470-3471 (pdf format available here (http://www.cds.caltech.edu/~marsden/bib_src/papers/ZeBlMa1999pp/ZeBlMa1999.pdf))
  • Zenkov, DV, AM Bloch, NE Leonard and JE Marsden, Matching and Stabilization of Low-dimensional Nonholonomic Systems. Proc. CDC, 39, (2000), 1289-1295. (pdf format available here (http://www.cds.caltech.edu/~marsden/bib_src/papers/2000/24-ZeBlLeMa2000/ZeBlLeMa2000.pdf))
  • Sheng, Zaiquan; Yamafuji, Kazuo: Realization of a Human Riding a Unicycle by a Robot. Proceedings of the 1995 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Vol. 2 (c1995), pp 1319 - 1326

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