Researchers at ETH Zurich, Switzerland have developed “Cubli” a 15 × 15 × 15 cm cube that can jump up and balance on its corner. Reaction wheels mounted on three faces of the cube rotate at high angular velocities and then brake suddenly, causing the Cubli to jump up. Once the Cubli has almost reached the corner stand up position, controlled motor torques are applied to make it balance on its corner. In addition to balancing, the motor torques 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’.
Just recently stumbled upon a video of this amazing kinetic installation called Hyper-Matrix. It was created for the Hyundai Motor Group Exhibition Pavilion in Korea at the 2012 EXPO. The installation consists of a specially made huge steel construction to support thousands of stepper motors that control 320x320mm cubes that project out of the internal facade of the building. The foam cubes are mounted to actuators that move them forward and back by the steppers, creating patterns across the three-sided display.
Comprised of what at first appear to be three blank white walls, Hyper-Matrix installation quickly comes to life as thousands of individual cubic units forming a field of pixels begin to move, pulsate, and form dynamic images across the room, creating infinite number of possibilities in the vertical, 180 degree, landscape. In addition, as the boxes are arranged at only 5mm narrow intervals, the wall can also be a nice moving screen for the images projected on to it.