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Pencil Device Balancer


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Very impressive stuff!!!

If acquiring the ability to keep a pencil balanced on its tip is one of your foremost concerns, then you my friend have lived a charmed life. And you will be heartened to learn that a team at The University of Zurich's Institute of Neuroinformatics has invested untold hours into developing a robot that can accomplish this Herculean task that has evaded mankind for too long.

The aptly-named "Pencil Balancing Robot" utilizes two Dynamic Vision Sensors (DVR) placed at right angles to observe any tipping of a pencil (or as the developers refer to it: "spike address events". Any address event is sent to a PC where the data is crunched through a tipping-pencil algorithm and a compensating reaction movement is quickly sent to a mechanized platform below the pencil. The result: a sharpened pencil that will never topple.

You can read a paper describing the balancing bot here (PDF).

It's very easy to mock this proof-of-concept device, however, this sort of robots that can quickly react to visual data could lead to useful real world applications. Namely, any bots that will work among humans are going to have to learn to compensate for our haphazard and chaotic free will-driven actions.

Source: http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2376096,00.asp

Edited by Infiltrator
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