Shape shifting bots could be the key to planetary exploration

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but rods and cables may one day help NASA explore planets.

For a few years now, scientists at NASA’s Ames research center and students from the University of California Berkeley’s Best Lab have teamed up to create so-called tentricity robots, which they hope to one day use for planetary exploration. These structures rely on a constant interaction between compression and tension.

Because the robots have no rigid connections, their shapes can be deformed using a series of small motors. The motors pull on the cables and make the bots move by either rolling or hopping. 

Berkeley tentricity rover robots Martyn Williams

Small motors pull on the cables of the tentricity robot and change its shape, causing it to roll or hop. 

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Source: http://www.cio.com

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