bots IN BRIEF
SERVO 02.2017 17
Self-Balancing GyroCycle Soon to
Hit the Big Slab
Motorcycles are about to take a big leap into the future. Thanks to a new prototype from Thrustcycle,
self-stabilizing motorcycles could be cruising the streets in
The GyroCycle keeps upright by using internal
flywheels to create a gyroscopic effect. While this is
generally felt by every rider at higher speeds, the
stabilization here will occur even while standing still. An
added benefit from the same technology is that the bike
will be less likely to lose traction and slide under itself
during a turn. This grants the rider greater control and
Self-balancing motorcycles could open up a new
market for new and old riders alike. Those who are
hopping on for the first time won’t have to learn how to
balance such a heavy vehicle. Likewise, older riders often
lack the strength to hold a motorcycle up. This has fueled
much of the market for three-wheeled trikes. The
GyroCycle would provide another alternative with a more
traditional two-wheel design.
Price is going to be a big issue with such high-tech
vehicles. This is where the GyroCycle is likely to edge out
the competition. No official price has been released yet,
but Thrustcycle has suggested that the price will be under
With multiple self-stabilizing motorcycles in
development, it seems like we are getting one step closer
to owning a Tron lightcycle.
PABI Offers Cost-Effective Therapy Solution
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about one in 68 American children has autism spectrum disorder. Therapy isn’t
cheap at roughly $60,000 a year for the recommended amount of 40
hours per week of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) needed to
effectively treat autism.
The high cost is one of the reasons many autistic children don’t
receive proper care. Fortunately, there’s growing evidence that robots
can help. There’s a new robot called PABI (Penguin for Autism
Behavioral Intervention) that is looking to make autism therapy more
Developed by the husband-wife team of Gregory Fischer, director
of WPI’s Automation and Interventional Medicine (AIM) Lab, and Laurie
Dickstein-Fischer, Salem State University School of Education professor,
PABI recently completed a two week pilot study with five autistic
children, and the results were very promising.
PABI, the robot penguin is 20 inches tall and 12 inches wide, with
12 degrees of freedom that autonomously conducts ABA therapy while
logging therapy data that will be reviewed by a human therapist. PABI
can move its beak, two wings, two eyes (independently), and eyelids.
It also uses openCV 2. 49 and 720p webcams to track a child’s facial expressions that can
then be reviewed by the therapist. There’s a computer in PABI’s stomach that pairs wirelessly
with a tablet to run interactive lessons for the children, as well.