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Exploring Space with Shape-Shifting Tensegrity Robots

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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.

tensegrity structure
Related activity: Build your own tensegrity structure with Instructables and with George Hart in Make Magazine:

tensegrity ball - george hart

We love robots. Check out this collision-tolerant flying GimBall, this dissolvable mini-origami bot, and Boston Dynamics’ incredible jumping sand flea.

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