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.