Cubli is a cube that can balance on a corner or edge or walk around by flipping over its edge or can be ordered to have a smooth fall.
The cube, six inches in length, was developed by researchers at ETH Zurich's Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and can maintain its balance if pushed over. The cube relies on three spinning motors to get it going that will spin faster, slower or stop to help maintain its balance or continue the flipping motion.
The cube can first flip on its edges using the motors' torque and then with another motion balance on its corners. The spinning wheels, according to researchers, are similar to the mechanisms that stabilize satellites in space.
In addition to balancing, the motors can also be used to achieve a controlled fall such that the Cubli can be commanded to fall in any arbitrary direction. Combining these three abilities -- jumping up, balancing, and controlled falling -- the Cubli is able to 'walk'.
[ETH Zurich's Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control]