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Vytas SunSpiral’s Publications

Full CV for Vytas SunSpiral is available for Download.
(Note: Prior to marriage in 2005, published as Thomas Willeke)


Contributing Author of the Space Robotics Chapter of the 2013 Roadmap for US Robotics

Adrian Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral, and David Atkinson. “Super Ball Bot – Structures for Planetary Landing and Exploration.” NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, Final Report, July 2013. Download PDF.


Atil Iscen, Ken Caluwaerts, Jonathan Bruce, Adrian Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral, Kagan Tumer, “Learning Tensegrity Locomotion using Open-Loop Control Signals and Coevolutionary Algorithms,” To Appear in Artificial Life.

Ken Caluwaerts, Jérémie Despraz, Atil Isçen, Andrew P. Sabelhaus, Jonathan Bruce, Benjamin Schrauwen, and Vytas SunSpiral, “Design and Control of Compliant Tensegrity Robots through Simulation and Hardware Validation,” Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Vol. 11, No 98. September 6, 2014; doi:10.1098/rsif.2014.0520 1742-5662 Download PDF. BibTex

Vytas SunSpiral, DW Wheeler, Daniel Chavez-Clemente, David Mittman, “Development and Field Testing of the FootFall Planning System for the ATHLETE Robots,” The Journal of Field Robotics, Vol. 29: pp 483–505. 2012. Download PDF.

Clayton Kunz, Thomas Willeke, Illah Nourbakhsh. “Automatic Mapping of Dynamic Office Environments.” Autonomous Robots Journal. Editor George A. Bekey. Kluwe Academic Publishers, Vol. 7, No. 2, September 1999. Download PDF.


Andrew P. Sabelhaus, Hao Ji, Patrick Hylton, Yakshu Madaan, ChanWoo Yang, Alice M. Agogino, Jeffrey Friesen, Vytas SunSpiral, “Mechanism Design and Simulation of the ULTRA SPINE, A Tensegrity Robot.” To appear in the Proceedings of the ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE 2015). August 2015, Boston, Massachusetts.

Steven Lessard, Jonathan Bruce, Adrian Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral, Mircae Teodorescu, “Robust Monte Carlo Control Policies to Maneuver Tensegrity Robots out of Obstacles,” To appear in Proceedings of Autonomous Robots and Multirobot Systems (ARMS). May 2015, Istanbul, Turkey.

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.” To Appear in Proceedings of 2015 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA2015), May 2015, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Brian Mirletz, Roger D. Quinn and Vytas SunSpiral, “CPGs for Adaptive Control of Spine-like Tensegrity Structures” To Appear in Proceedings of 2015 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA2015) Workshop on Central Pattern Generators for Locomotion Control: Pros, Cons & Alternatives, May 2015, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Kyunam Kim, Adrian K. Agogino, Deaho Moon, Laqshya Taneja, Aliakbar Toghyan, Borna Dehghani, Vytas SunSpiral,  Alice M. Agogino, “Rapid Prototyping Design and Control of Tensegrity Soft Robot for Locomotion” In Proceedings of 2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (ROBIO2014), Dec 2014, Bali, Indonesia. Finalist Best Student Paper. Download PDF. BibTex

In-Won Park, Vytas SunSpiral, “Impedance Controlled Twisted String Actuators for Tensegrity Robots,” In Proceedings of the 2014 14th International Conference on Control, Automation and Systems (ICCAS 2014), KINTEX, Korea, October 2014. Download PDF.

Atil Iscen, Adrian Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral, Kagan Tumer, “Flop and Roll: Learning Robust Goal-Directed Locomotion for a Tensegrity Robot,” In Proceedings of The 2014 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2014), Chicago, USA, September 2014. Download PDF.

Andrew P. Sabelhaus, Jonathan Bruce, Ken Caluwaerts, Yangxin Chen, Dizhou Lu, Yuejia Liu, Adrian K. Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral, Alice M. Agogino, “Hardware Design and Testing of SUPERball, a Modular Tensegrity Robot”, in Proceedings of The 6th World Conference of the International Association for Structural Control and Monitoring (6WCSCM), Barcelona, Spain, July 2014. Download PDF. BibTex

Brian T. Mirletz, In-Won Park, Thomas E. Flemons, Adrian K. Agogino, Roger D. Quinn, and Vytas SunSpiral, “Design and Control of Modular Spine-Like Tensegrity Structures”, in Proceedings of The 6th World Conference of the International Association for Structural Control and Monitoring (6WCSCM), Barcelona, Spain, July 2014. Download PDF. BibTex

Jonathan Bruce, Andrew Sabelhaus, Yangxin Chen, Dizhou Lu, Kyle Morse, Sophie Milam, Ken Caluwaerts, Alice Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral, “SUPERball: Exploring Tensegrities for Planetary Probes,” in Proceedings of 12th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS 2014), Montreal, Canada, June 2014. Download PDF.

Jeffrey Michael Friesen, Alexandra Pogue, Thomas Bewley, Mauricio de Oliveira, Robert E. Skelton, Vytas SunSpiral, “A Compliant Tensegrity Robot for Exploring Duct Systems”, In Proceedings of International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Hong Kong, June 2014 Download PDF.

Jonathan Bruce, Ken Caluwaerts, Atil Iscen, Vytas SunSpiral, “Design and Evolution of a Modular Tensegrity Robot Platform”, In Proceedings of International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Hong Kong, June 2014. Download PDF.

Brian Tietz, Ross Carnahan, Richard Bachmann, Roger Quinn, and Vytas SunSpiral, “Tetraspine: Robust Terrain Handling on a Tensegrity Robot Using Central Pattern Generators,” In Proceedings of 2013 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM 2013), Wollongong, Australia, July 2013. Download PDF.

Vytas SunSpiral, George Gorospe, Jonathan Bruce, Atil Iscen, George Korbel, Sophie Milam, Adrian Agogino, David Atkinson, “Tensegrity Based Probes for Planetary Exploration: Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) and Surface Mobility Analysis,” in Proceedings of 10th International Planetary Probe Workshop, San Jose, California, June 2013. Download PDF. BibTex

Atil Iscen, Adrian Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral, and Kagan Tumer. “Robust Distributed Control of Rolling Tensegrity Robot” In proceedings of Autonomous Robots and Multi-robot Systems (ARMS)  Workshop, Saint Paul, Minnesota,  May, 2013. Download PDF. BibTex

Atil Iscen, Adrian Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral, and Kagan Tumer. “Controlling Tensegrity Robots through Evolution”  In proceedings of Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, (GECCO 2013),  Amsterdam, The Netherlands, July 6-10, 2013. Download PDF. BibTex

Atil Iscen, Adrian Agogino, Vytas SunSpiral, and Kagan Tumer. “Learning to Control Complex Tensegrity Robots.”  In proceedings of Twelfth International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS), Saint Paul, Minnesota, May, 2013. Download PDF.

Terrence Fong, Reginald Berka, Maria Bualat, Myron Diftler, Mark Micirie, David Mittman, Vytas SunSpiral, Chris Provencher, “The Human Exploration Telerobotics Project,” In Proceedings, The Global Space Exploration Conference, Washington, DC, May 2012. Download PDF.

Dawn Wheeler, Daniel Chavez-Clemente, Vytas SunSpiral, “FootSpring: A Compliance Model for the ATHLETE Family of Robots.” In Proceedings, 10th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space, (i-SAIRAS 2010).  Sapporo, Japan, August 2010. Download PDF.

Vytas SunSpiral, Daniel Chavez-Clemente, Michael Broxton, Leslie Keely, Patrick Mihelich, David Mittman, Curtis Collins “FootFall: A Ground Based Operations Toolset Enabling Walking for the ATHLETE Rover”, In Proceedings, AIAA Space2008, San Diego, California, Sept. 2008. Download PDF.

Tristan B. Smith, Javier Barreiro, David E. Smith, Vytas SunSpiral, Daniel Chavez-Clemente, “ATHLETE’s Feet: Multi-Resolution Planning for a Hexapod Robot”, in Proceedings, International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS), Sydney, Australia, Sept. 2008. Download PDF.

Vytas SunSpiral, Mark B. Allan, Rodney Martin, Kevin R. Wheeler, “Modeling and Classifying Six-Dimensional Trajectories for Tele-operation Under Time Delay”, in proceedings, AAAI Spring Symposium, Stanford, CA, 2006 Download PDF.

Kevin Wheeler, Rodney Martin, Mark Allan, Vytas SunSpiral, “Predictive Interfaces for Long-Distance Tele-Operations”, in Proceedings, ISAIRAS Conference, Munich Germany, 2005. Download PDF.

Emmanuel Benazera, Richard Levinson, Thomas Willeke, Howard Cannon, “Runtime Decision Sampling and Branch Utility Re-Evaluation in the Robust Execution of Contingent Plans”, In Proceedings of International Conference of Robotics and Automation, Barcelona, April 2005. Download PDF.

Thomas Willeke, Richard Dearden, “Building Hybrid Rover Models: Lessons Learned” in Proceedings of 15th International Workshop on Principals of Diagnosis, Carcassone, France. June 2004. Download PDF.

Richard Dearden, Frank Hutter, Reid Simmons, Sebastian Thrun, Vandi Verma, and Thomas Willeke, “Real-time Fault Detection and Situational Awareness for Rovers: Report on the Mars Technology Program Task”, In Proceedings,  IEEE Aerospace Conference, March 2004. Download PDF.

Illah Nourbakhsh, Clay Kunz, Thomas Willeke, “The Mobot Museum Robot Installations: A Five Year Experiment” In Proceedings of IROS 2003, Las Vegas. Download PDF.

Thomas Willeke, Clayton Kunz, Illah Nourbakhsh. “The History of the Mobot Museum Robot Series: An Evolutionary Study.”  Proceedings of FLAIRS 2001. Florida.  May 2001. Download PDF.

Clayton Kunz, Thomas Willeke and Illah Nourbakhsh , “Automatic Mapping of Dynamic Office Environments,”. In Proceedings, IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation, volume 2, pages 1681—1687, 1997.


Rodney A. Martin, Kevin R. Wheeler, Mark B. Allan, and Vytas SunSpiral. “Optimized algorithms for prediction within robotic tele-operative interfaces.” Technical Report NASA/TM-2010-216417, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, November 2010. Download PDF.

Thomas Willeke. “Genetic Evolution of Behavior-Oriented Robots.” Genetic Algorithms and Genetic Programming at Stanford 1995, Editor John R. Koza. Stanford University, 1995.


Vytas SunSpiral. “Automated Location Based Services – an Apisphere Whitepaper”, Feb. 2009 Download PDF.


PhD Theses

Ken Caluwaerts, “Design and Computational Aspects of Compliant Tensegrity Robots”, PhD Thesis, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, 2014, Download PDF.

Atil Iscen, “Multiagent Learning for Locomotion and Coordination in Tensegrity Robotics”, PhD Thesis, Oregon State University, 2014. Download PDF.

Daniel Chavez-Clemente, “Gait Optimization For Multi-Legged Walking Robots, With Application To A Lunar Hexapod”, PhD Thesis, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2011. Download PDF.

Masters Theses

Andrew P. Sabelhaus, “Mechanism and Sensor Design for SUPERball, a Cable-Driven Tensegrity Robot,” Master of Science in Engineering – Mechanical Engineering University of California, Berkeley, 2014. Download PDF.

George Korbel, “Central Pattern Generator Gait Evolution Of A Robotic Modular Tetrahedral Tensegrity”, Masters Thesis, University of Idaho, Moscow Idaho, 2013, Download PDF.

Jérémie Despraz, “Superballbot – Structures For Planetary Landing And Exploration”, Masters Thesis, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland, 2013. Download PDF.

Steve Burt, “Kinematics Algorithms For Tensegrity Structures”, Masters Thesis, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA. 2013. Download PDF.

Stefan Leutenegger, “End Effector Design and Control of Planetary Rover Robot Arm for Communication Relay Retrieval”, Masters Thesis, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland, 2008. Download PDF.

Camilla Ljungstrom, “Manipulator, Mounting and Integration, and Communication Brick Collection”, Masters Thesis, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, 2008. Download PDF.


Theses in Progress

Jonathan Bruce      UC Santa Cruz, phD

Andrew Sabelhaus    UC Berkeley, phD

Kyunam Kim   UC Berkeley, phD

Jeff Friessen   UC San Diego, phD

Brian Mierletz   Casewestern, phD


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