The ball balancing table (BBT in short) plays a very important role in mechatronics and robotics. Also, control theory is a very important concept in many parts of technology. Many models and developments have begun to emerge based on this theory. Just as each model is based on a theory, the ball balancing table is based on control theory. Balancing the ball placed on a table in the desired position is one of the most important examples of control theory.
In general, we see that we need a few materials in the ball balancing table assembly. The ball balancing table consists of a power supply, controller, 2x motors, a touch screen for feedback, and a steel ball to play with. On top of all of these is the specialized computer software to control them all.
The position of the ball is measured by the touch screen. It comes as input to the controller, which generates an error signal after the comparison with the reference. This error signal is then converted into a command that drives the motors according to certain control logic. Then, the movement of the motors is transmitted to the table using the tie rod end bearings and the ball rolls to follow the set reference.
In addition to the way it works, it also draws attention with its many rich features. Ball balancing table allows students or researchers to create their computer-based algorithms. It also has comprehensive educational software suitable for undergraduate courses for engineering disciplines related to control and robotic systems. Circular, rectangular and arbitrary path options are integrated into the software as well, thus opening a “road” to the robotic path planning and trajectory generation algorithms. There is also an optional camera-based feedback option that can be used for introductory machine vision experiments and algorithms.
We make models that examine real-life problems. These problems arise from high-cost large-scale industrial systems. Designing controllers for these systems continues to be one of the most important problems of control engineering. However, since these systems are costly and cannot be compensated for possible errors that may occur, mechanisms similar to the behavior of these systems are used. In many areas such as control engineering and mechatronics, many situations can be evaluated by using the ball balancing table. With the widespread use of these situation assessments, the robots made progress and started to give clearer results over time. Students and researchers can understand the effect of different types of controllers on the system and can easily handle the concepts of control system experiments and many controller designs.
The ball balancing table has a wide variety of software options. It includes ready-to-use training software, with digital twin options as well. BBT offers many possibilities for understanding fundamental aspects of control theory by experimentation. It reinforces the learned knowledge by learning practically. It is also suitable for designing advanced controller types such as excitation control, robust control in ball balancing table systems. Therefore, we can say that it can also be used for postgraduate studies. The ball balancing table comes with open-source software. Therefore, it is possible for researchers, employees, and students to test the algorithms they have developed and to change the algorithms in this way.
The ball balancing table system is ready to meet with its users with its advanced control mechanisms and ready-to-use rich graphical interface. With this robot, students will be able to gain knowledge. Control experiments will now become more fun with this robot, which is useful in many fields and informs students with its working principle and places of use.