The Blind Juggler

The Blind Juggler is a robot that is able to juggle a ball on a paddle. The robot does this without any sensing; there are no cameras, no microphones, or any other sensors that could tell the robot where the ball is. Imagine yourself juggling a ball blindfolded. Try it: it’s no easy task!

How does the robot do this? The key elements are the shape of the paddle and how the robot strikes the ball. We used mathematical analysis to learn which shape and motion would make “sensorless” juggling possible. What we found was that a slightly concave paddle keeps the ball centered, and that a decelerating motion keeps the ball in the air.

You can learn more about how the robot works on the stability and hardware pages. You may watch the robot in action on the video page. The Blind Juggler is used for research in dynamical systems, and various outreach activities.

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