Can a “skwishy” baby toy help inform how next generation robots explore other worlds? Vytas SunSpiral‘s team at NASA Ames Research Center joined forces with Alice Agogino’s Mechanical Engineering lab at UC Berkeley to design, build, and program tensegrity structures — objects with rigid parts that “aren’t directly connected to one another by nails or screws, but instead are held together by wires, cables, or elastic bands that connect the rigid parts. This gives tensegrity structures some unique properties that make them pretty robust.”
Stretch, compress, shape-shift, roll around other planets! From KQED Quest: Exploring Space with Shape-Shifting Robots.