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Synaptic Motion Highlights

Over the last year I helped with Synaptic Motion — a neuroscience inspired dance performance.  See more about it in my prior post.

Today they just released a highlights video, and it is beautiful!  Check it out:

Synaptic Motion Highlights 2014 from Jodi Lomask on Vimeo.

Posted in Tensegrity.

SUPERball: First Motion!

I’m very pleased to share the first video of our newest prototype of the SUPERball Tensegrity Robot! We have recently completed the mechanical assembly of the robot and are currently finalizing the electronics and controls. In this video you can see the size and passive dynamics of the robot, some insights into its construction, and initial motion results from the first integrated actuator. Of particular interest is how one motor is able to change the overall structural stiffness and to cause the robot to roll over. Once fully finished, we will be using this prototype to explore control strategies for locomotion over a variety of terrain conditions encountered when exploring other planets. This video was submitted to the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA2015) along with our paper:

Andrew P. Sabelhaus, Jonathan Bruce, Ken Caluwaerts, Pavlo Manovi, Roya Fallah Firoozi, Sarah Dobi, Alice M. Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral, “System Design and Locomotion of SUPERball, an Autonomous Tensegrity Robot.” Submitted to 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2015), Seattle, Washington, May 2015.

Posted in Robots, Tensegrity.

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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program Trailer

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program has just released a program trailer which explains how they are supporting research into advanced aerospace mission and technology concepts, and they highlight some of our work. NIAC is a really great forward looking program that has been a big supporter of our tensegrity robotics research. Check out some of the other great ideas that they have been funding!

Posted in Robots, Tensegrity, Unknown.

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Biotensegrity: The Structural Basis of Life

Wow, now this is an extremely special moment — our tensegrity robots have just appeared in a new book “Biotensegrity: The Structural Basis of Life” by Graham Scarr.  The book answers the question ‘What is biotensegrity?'; and reasons that all natural forms are the result of interactions between natural physical forces and the fundamental laws that regulate them.  This fits will with our approach to robotics which is to start by understanding how the forces of environmental interaction move through the structure of the robot, and how all the sensors and actuators are focused on controlling those forces in order to created desired motion.  This focus on forces is what led us to tensegrity structures, and this book shows why biology also organizes around these basic principles.  After some basics, it dives into cell biology and how tensegrity plays a role there, and in other higher level aspects of physiology too.  This book is *rich* in citations to all the underlying science papers that support the many new ideas presented here, so it is a great resource and overview that can be used as a starting point for deeper research.   It is also a fascinating and well worth reading end-to-end, and best of all, I think it is the first published book to include our research!  hurray!

Posted in Bodies, Robots, Tensegrity.