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Bender is a two-wheeled, self-balancing robot. He was a team effort design, with my friend Bob Allen. We built two of these robots, one for him and one for me. He does all of his balancing autonomously, and has a high-level control input, so he can be driven around by remote control. Eventually, I hope to make him roam around the house autonomously.
The primary goal in building Bender was to make him from inexpensive components. His brain is a PIC18F252 microcontroller. To balance, he reads a Tokin piezo-electric gyro, and a Memsic 2-axis accelerometer in order to calculate his fall, and move the wheels underneath so he doesn't fall over. The motors were obtained at surplus.