An Inverted Pendulum for Xmas
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 27 December 2020

This year's holiday robot videos have been a bit predictable, but at last I found one that was interesting - an inverted pendulum balanced by a drone.

The inverted pendulum is a favourite of AI and robotic systems. Another way to describe it is to say that the task is to balance a pole on the palm of your hand. This is a classic reinforcement learning task. Usually the pole is balanced on the base of a railway truck which is moved backwards and forward in an effort to keep it upright.


I have seen inverted pendulum tasks solved using a quad-rotor in place of a truck, but this one is incidental and used without ceremony or explanation - it forms the trunk of the "xmas tree" display created by  Dynamic Systems Lab at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies: 

How fast something that once was a state of the art achievement has become a xmas decoration...



The video is short and sweet and there's a coda in the credits where a stationery quad-rotor joins in a rendition of Jingle Bells.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 December 2020 )