August 13, 2006 Contrasting with the bipedal humanoid robot portrayed in science fiction, Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed a new type of mobile robot that balances on a ball. “Ballbot” is a self-contained, battery-operated, omnidirectional robot that balances dynamically on a single urethane-coated metal sphere. It weighs 95 pounds and is the approximate height and width of a person. Because of its long, thin shape and ability to maneuver in tight spaces, it has the potential to function better than current robots can in environments with people. Papers can be downloaded here and here.