Kansas State University


Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Department



A Kansas State University professor and a group of students designed and built a Segway Style Balancing Robot (Segbot). A  two-wheeled, balancing robot, it is an example of an underactuated, nonlinear, nonholonomic dynamic system.

Warren White, MNE associate professor, led the development team. The microcontroller is called the myRIO and is manufactured by National Instruments. The K-State team is the first to develop an application of the myRIO to the Segbot.
This robot can turn, tilt, travel across the floor, and each of its wheels can turn independently of one another. A user can measure the turn angle, the tilt angle, the wheel positions, and the coordinates of the Segbot location.

Turn and tilt angles determine the Segbot’s orientation. The wheel positions and the turn angle are related. Five pieces of information—wheel angles, tilt, and location coordinates—are needed to measure the Segbot’s orientation and position. There are only two motors or actuators, one on each wheel as well as five things that can vary using only two motors.

The Segbot is underactuated because there are more things it can do than available motors. It is nonholonomic because it can only move in one direction at a time. Its wheels can drive it forward, but not sideways.

The dynamic equations relate the voltages sent to the motors to the Segbot location acceleration and the angular accelerations of the Segbot tilt and wheels. These dynamic equations are mathematically nonlinear which results in the Segbot being a nonlinear dynamic system.

Many current and former MNE students contributed to this project. Matt Migchelbrink, Jacob Wagner and Brain Blankenau are responsible for the control system design. Lucas Gorentz designed the physical structure and completed all of the CAD work. Skyler Butler and Kristine Larson made the video. Alan Ramirez and Sergio Ortiz created and manage the website. The wiring diagram was developed by Cameron Lucero.

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