Discovery Center of Idaho Inverted Pendulum Interactive Display

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Eric Booth, Sarah Haight


The Discovery Center of Idaho is requesting an inverted pendulum to illustrate how computer programs can control machinery, eg a control system. The goal of the project is to design and build an interactive display that is safe, fun, and above all, educational. The final design consists of a fixed motor with an attached arm that rotates 360 degrees in the horizontal plane. Attached at a right angle to the end of the arm is a pendulum that also rotates 360 degrees. An encoder is attached to the pendulum which gives information regarding the pendulum's movement and angle. This information is received by a microcontroller board at the base of the device. The controller then takes the incoming information and calculates and outputs a voltage and direction, using a Linear-Quadratic-Regulation (LQR) program, that the motor needs to move the arm to keep the pendulum upright. This process of receiving, processing and sending information is done many times per second to achieve control of the system. The team of engineering students is tasked with designing, constructing, programming and testing the entire system. By doing so, the team will have created a fun to use, safe to operate, and educational display that fulfills the Discovery Center’s needs.

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