A Ball on Plate system is the two dimension extension to the Ball on Beam system. The problem of the Ball on Beam becomes interesting because when the ball begins moving it will roll off the end of the beam if no control action is taken.
The construction of the Ball on Beam involves a beam that can be tilted either from the centre of the axis or from the edge axis by an actuator. The ball is restricted to one dimensional movement, which is along the beam only. The sensor used in this system measures the ball position and is usually a resistance wire running along the beam. The ball is made of conductive material, for instance a steel ball bearing. As the ball rolls sideways, this will vary the total resistance of the system, so the overall resistance will give the precise indication where the ball is. The Ball on Plate system is figured out as the 2-D evolution of the Ball on Beam system. It has an x and y-dimension which allows the ball to roll along different paths. This type of system can be controlled for both position of the ball and path following, thereby opening up another field in robotics, that is trajectory planning. It will have several direct applications too such as robotic manipulation of round objects. When it comes to indirect applications, undergraduate students will benefit from this because of demonstration in control and image processing and can be used as lab apparatus. Various experiments can be carried out by using this system.
These reference experiments are:
• Application and research of image processing algorithms
• Research of PID controller and other classical control methods
• System dynamics modelling and analysis
• Research of self-defined control algorithms