Objective: To build an inverted pendulum system for the Discovery Center of Boise.
Description: One can think of the idea of an inverted pendulum as trying to vertically balance a yardstick on the palm of your hand. That is, you watch the stick and move your hand to the stick pointing up. In the system to be built, the palm is replaced by a motorized base and the stick (rod) is attached to the base through a bearing joint. The angle of the rod with respect to the base is measured and then the base is moved to keep the stick straight up vertical.
Goal: To create an inverted pendulum that will intrigue kids of all ages with visual and interactive capability to illustrate various aspects of modern science and engineering.
The Set Up: A rotary inverted pendulum will be constructed in order to limit the spatial requirements and the number of mechanical parts in order to maximize the life expectancy of the system. There will be a DC motor, an optical encoder, an amplifier, a C based microcontroller, and two mounting platforms used to tie it all together. At the end of the semester the inverted pendulum will be on display at the Discovery Center.