By Jorge Morales, Systems Engineer
This microsegbot project is a modern day application of the classical control systems problem of the inverted pendulum. The inverted pendulum problem is an overturned pendulum with the mass suspended above its pivot point. The challenge of this problem is stabilization. Since this project involves a very accurate description of position, we had to find an appropriate sensor that would report these measurements. Some of the sensors we looked into were the following: inclinometer, accelerometer, and gyroscope. The sensor that we choose for our project was the MPU6050 because it is a system on chip, which combines both accelerometer and gyroscope onto a single integrated circuit. One of the reasons we choose this chip was because it was relatively inexpensive. Another reason we decided to go with this sensor was its proprietary algorithm that offered an accurate report of positon. The chip comes with a digital motion-processing unit (DMP) which uses some complex mathematical magic to spit out refined quaternion elements, which can later be modified to be readable in other forms. Fortunately, we have libraries for the Arduino that have already done the required computational translation to put the measurement in terms of Euler angles or yaw, pitch, and roll. If the user is incredulous, the sensor also has the ability to give raw data points of the accelerometer and gyroscope.