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NASA 360 Facebook Video Features Tensegrity Robot Project

The NASA 360 Talk series posted a video to the Facebook channel featuring the Tensegrity Robot project managed by Vytas SunSpiral and Adrian Agogino. This video has received more the 100,000 views, 8,000 “likes,” and 1,400 “shares.” The video highlights elements discussed in the 2015 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Symposium, including controllability, shock resistance, and recent work in developing the full-size prototype known as “Super Ball Bot.” NASA’s Facebook page for this video can be found at

In addition, content from the NIAC Symposium talk was also used in an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Spectrum article titled, “NASA’s Super Ball Bot Could Be the Best Design for Planetary Exploration,” which can be found at

The full video of the NIAC Symposium can be found at

BACKGROUND: Vytas SunSpiral and Adrian Agogino are Principal Investigators for a study from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) project “Super Ball Bot - Structures for Planetary Landing and Exploration.” The research covers robots made from “tensegrities” - structures that are composed of purely tensile (cables) and compressive (rods) components. Such robots could prove to be lightweight, strong, collapsible, energy efficient, and robust against high impacts and traversing rugged terrain. However, tensegrity control is difficult and poses formidable challenges. Solutions to overcome these obstacles use a synergy of control technologies from both the Intelligent Robotics and Robust Software Engineering Groups.

COLLABORATORS: Alice Agogino (UC Berkeley), David Atkinson (University of Idaho), Jonathan Bruce (UC Santa Cruz), Ken Caluwaerts (NASA postdoc), and Andrew Sabelhaus (UC Berkeley)

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD)

Contacts: Vytas SunSpiral; Adrian Agogino

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