UROP Project

Design and Control of the Mini Wheelbot



Jan Müller

Program Director UROP


+49 241 80-90299


Key Info

Basic Information

Project Offer-Number:
UROP International
Mechanical Engineering
Organisation unit:
Institute for Data Science in Mechanical Engineering
Language Skills:
Prof. Sebastian Trimpe


The Wheelbot (video available at https://youtu.be/UEMN0wPo5iE) is a small, balancing reaction wheel robot that has been developed at the DSME and Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS). Its open-source design and control has recently been published and even featured in popular German media, like Heise. Since the Wheelbot is symmetric and has two wheels, which can be used for driving or balancing, it is capable of standing up from any initial position. It is a challenging test-bed for control due to non-linear dynamics, under-actuation, and instability. To make the Wheelbot more accessible for research and education, a smaller, more integrated, and less expensive version is currently under development at the DSME. We are looking for UROP researchers to prototype and test mechanical components, electronics, and embedded software on the new Mini Wheelbot.


Example projects are "optimization of chassis design for manufacturing, assembly, and cable management", "system identification of inertia and friction parameters", and "tuning and experimental validation of balancing controllers", depending on skills and interest of the students. The UROP student researcher will be asked to do the following, with the help of the supervisor: (1) read the current project paper(s) and documentation for the Wheelbot test bed, (2) formulate requirements, (3) design and build/implement, (4) test design on the Wheelbot, (5) present the final work at the end of the program. This project can be executed in a group of up to 3 people.


Applicants with an engineering (robotics, mechanical, aerospace, electrical) or computer science background are welcome. Applicants should be comfortable prototyping mechanics, electronics, or embedded software and have passed an introductory level university class on robotics or control systems. Hands-on robotic experience is beneficial but not required.