By Kyle Petersen

In the 1970s, American engineer and mathematician Claude Shannon invented the world’s first juggling machine. His machine, which was made from an erector set, used a bounce juggling technique to keep a three-ball bounce cascade moving. Bounce juggling was the preferred method because the ball is caught at the top of it trajectory, when it’s not moving. Below you can watch Shannon’s machine on a 1985 Canadian television show.

Since that time, however, there’s been little progress in making machines juggle–until now. Below you can watch Mark Muller and Sergei Lupashin operate a quadrocopter, which is a remote control helicopter-like device, maintaining a single ball aloft by bouncing it while in flight. Watching the video, it’s easy to see how another ball or two could be added to the pattern.


This is cause for alarm. Will juggling machines render human jugglers obsolete?

  • Rodney D

    For all we know machines are already among us disguised as jugglers with 7 clubs etc.

  • sergei l.

    Hi, just randomly came across this blog (i’m one of the people that made the quadrotor-juggling video). You should check out this video: http://www.botjunkie.com/2010/12/09/robot-juggling-round-3-2-balls-in-the-90s/, and this http://www.blindjuggler.org/ … ball juggling seems to be one of those problems that people in robotics/controls just can’t stay away from.. :-) There has been a lot of progress in this, and honestly, the quadrotor video is not (yet) anywhere near the level of the other robotic jugglers… then again, they’re not flying! :)

  • http://www.dube.com Dube Juggling

    Sergei, thanks! I already reposted your video on our Facebook site. Please share any other robot juggling videos you come across :)

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